Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pining for “Pinterest”

“This case presents certain features of pinterest.”
-- Psherlock Pholmes

As mentioned here,  a young friend has just informed me that, if I want anyone at all to so much as glance at my blog, who doesn’t have a beard as white as mine (quite becoming, though, she told me the other day), I absolutely have to gear uP and get with the Program  and begin seeking Pinnings on something called “ “ “Pinterest” “ “.  (Additional quotation marks added for hazmat security.   The thing has gone viral, in ways reminiscent of ebola.)   And that is essential because, only in that fashion will thousands of milling visitors throng my site, and, no doubt charmed, ask themselves “Hmm!  Wonder whether this fellow has published any exciting mysteries??”   And upon learning (to their surprise and delight) that he has indeed, they rush out to rid themselves of their surplus dollars, here and here and here.   (Remember, you can’t take it with you. -- Of course, you’re a little young for that thought.)   Whereupon I take the resulting royalty money to the neighborhood bank, and retire and buy a yacht and sail around the oceans in a sailor suit, on a deck bustling with penguins and pangolins.  That’s the plan.

The only price you must pay, to get Pinned to, is to chuck out your old preoccupation with the dusty print culture (logic and history and ideas and reasoning and like that) and focus on images.  Eye-candy.  Pictures.  
Well, sure, whatever.   Why not.  For an old guy, I’m pretty “hep”, you dig?

But I am still enough of a philologist  that this bizarre coinage and novel vocable, 


(of all things), has got me scratching my snowy-locked head.  Whatever can be the derivation of this strange-looking word?

Well, let’s start with the root. Morphologically, we have:  Pint|er|estPint (rhymes with mint) is German slang for ‘penis’; so far so good.  Now -er can be either the masculine (natch) adjective ending, or else a comparative suffix:  thus,  something like ‘he-penis’ or ‘more-penissy’.  Finally, -est is, in German just as in English, the mark of the superlative;  hence the word as a whole means, etymologically, ‘most-more-penissy’ or perhaps ‘superlatively penissy’ or perhaps ‘so penissy you could spread it on toast’.

Checking with Wikipedia to confirm this hypothesis, I learned that the site “is managed by Cold Brew Labs” -- evidently a beer laboratory.   Awesome. This has got to be a total guy thing.

Such, youngsters, are the teachings of philology.


Curiosity by now aroused, I  for the first time  visited their website -- carefully typing in the word, P - I - N - T - E - R - E - S -T (can that be right?  It reads like a typo) -- blushing a bit that the all-seeing Google (which probably spies on the enn ess ay, rather than the other way around), drawing the conclusion that I have a fascination with, um, superlative images of ‘Pint’s, no doubt will start pimpling the response-pages with image ads for Viagra and masculine enhancement and whatnot, rather than penguin-grooming products as they normally do now;  but bit my lip and proceeded anyway:  I’ve got to get that yacht!

So it landed me at www.pinterest.com, and … I felt as though I had accidentally wandered into the wrong restroom.    Not only do more than four times as many women as men use the site (or so we're told), but to say that its design and presentation were expressive “principally” of women, would be an understatement;  it is positively estrogenic.   So, looks like the proposed German etymology  is refuted by the old method of Wörter und Sachen.

Having now looked around there a bit, it remains obscure to me how anybody is ever going to find my most important posts via that site -- essays on Theologia Mathematica, or Trinitarian Minimalism, or Eliminative Materialism -- or etymology, for that matter.   I didn’t spot any pictures of the Riemann hypothesis, nor the Poincaré conjecture neither; no hint of Indo-European roots.   Just … weird hairdos and stuff.  True, there was one image of some guy doing woodworking;  but in context, I suspect it’s intended to be ironic.

So, I may have to settle for a rowboat, and retirement at ninety-five.

As it is, half the visitors to my site these days seem to be horny guys over in Belgium  searching on images for “Aurélie Delvaulx” (la divine Aurélie) -- whose portrait we here reproduce, for research purposes:

To rotate this image:
using your free hand,
manipulate the mouse;
double-click to remove the panties.


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