Persiflage?

It was mid-January. I lay in bed on a Saturday morning, phone scrolling, when a piece of art caught my eye. The irony. I lay in bed contemplating the Spitzweg painting of The Poor Poet, who was also in bed contemplating.

The Poor Poet, by Carl Spitzweg, 1839

My friend from Berlin wrote, “Who Is Carl Spitzweg?” (Click the link if you’re curious.) She proceeded to tell me and juxtaposed Spitzweg’s poet with a contemporary painting of a bear. How great are these two when compared? Zoom in on the painting behind the headboard below.

Picture by Papafox on Pixabay

My friend wanted to know, “At the end of the day, art and kitsch are in the eye of the beholder. What I truly can call kitsch is artwork like this with the bear. Now wait, or is it persiflage?”

Persiflage? I had to look up the word. Light and slightly contemptuous mockery or banter.

I continued reading. “Please ladies and gentlemen help me out! Is this art or kitsch?”

Kitsch? Another word I’ve learned. Art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

I responded.

Hmm. Favorite word? “I like juxtapose, rhymes with morose,” I said, scoffing at my bad joke, the eye rhyme, not an ear rhyme.

My Berlin friend and I went back and forth for a couple of days. I don’t think I truly have a favorite word. I reserve the right to change my mind each day. The next day I liked “gaga.”

She liked “mushroomed.”

We decided to collaborate.

A good-words post.

Five words each?

I fear I’ve commandeered the idea. (Commandeered, a nice word, right?)

On my laptop, I found a list started years ago. In a file called Creative Writing, from a class I once taught, is a document called “I Love Words,” untouched since January 2016. I started an ABC list of words I like while watching Wes Anderson’s quirky (good word #1) directorial-debut Bottle Rocket. It’s about three “amigos” (good word #2) planning to pull off a 75-year plan of “helter skelter” (#3) heists. The movie bombed at the box office, not everybody’s “cuppa,” (#4) but, oh, the banter. Now wait, or was it “persiflage” (#5)? Writing is just words, hopefully the best words, in the best order. I’ve added a few to my list along the way.

As for my Berlin friend, German’s have some of the best words. The funniest words. Do you know any Germans? Or their words? If not, click here.

And here she is—my friend who writes at Be Kitschig. From here she takes over this post. Her choice of art and words. Enjoy.

Oh, Wes Anderson has a cornucopia (Be Kitschig lovely word #1) of ideas. Thinking about it, I am not sure if I used that word 100% correct in the past. It’s always a bit awkward (good word #2) when people use words wrong. Like, not every thought you ever had is an epiphany, dude, but I digress (#3). One word I always liked was flabbergasted (#4). Since there are so many amazing words in the English language, five might just not be enough. So, for today, let’s finish the banter.

Cool?

Peachy (#5)!

And you know what would be uber cool and peachy? Add your favorite words in the comments. Better yet, link your own post below.

67 thoughts on “Persiflage?

  1. hahah..i had to google what that word meant also when i saw your title =P As for words I like, hmm.. i dont know if i particularly have one but I like the ones you wrote adn i like the ones that ppl are commenting. I think its easier to tell you the ones i hate ‘cuz i cannot pronounce them correctly..like ever! hahahah

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this post so much, Crystal! I love the paintings~and the Bear, particularly. Aren’t the connections we make just amazing? My favorite word to say is “lollygag”. I heard that beginning at a young age and used it on my own sons and to myself when I feel I’m doing to much of it! Lol. I love words! I used to be better at writing new words in my journal! Thank you for sharing! Blessings. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sure this is peachy BUT is it peachy-keeno? There’s the question. You mentioned “Kitsch” and I’m reminded of when I sold greeting cards. I learned the word when one condescending store manager told me that she’d never have anything as kitsch as greeting cards in her art store. I politely left, then went home to research the word in the dictionary. It was new to me. 🤓

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh goodness I have so many favourite words that I note as they cross my mind but I’ve never jotted them down somewhere – this post makes me want to do that! Some favourite words that come to mind are: livid, curmudgeon, bucolic, effervescent, blasphemy, opulent, acquiesce.. just to name a few lol… I like the way these words either roll off my tongue or how strong they sound…

    *love the paintings (both!) 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope you copied and pasted these words somewhere. Each one could definitely prompt you to write more. I wrote my list as an example for my students to write their own. One day we just scanned the dictionary on a word hunt.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have so many favorite words. I love words! Did you know that DC has a word museum? I just learned that in the past couple weeks and I cannot wait to go. Here are a smattering of my favorites: superfluous, perfunctory, vacillate, mellifluous, absquatulate, thalassophile, puddle.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for sharing!!.. my favorite word is; Love… it has no single meaning and love can be many things…. 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have two words for you the first is definitely English; Phantasmic The second is a disease and I don’t know the origin, but I love it Logocophosis. it is the inability to understand what is being told to you and very common among teens. And I have to thank the Germans for Schadenfreude. a great word and i use it often This is a great post. I love the new words I picked up.
    ;;
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    Find Laughter in the world

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Fun entry, Crystal!

    My daily perambulations (at least those taken mentally) usual uncover at least one word that has me diving for the dictionary. Even in recent memory, far too many to list here.

    More fascinating are sly deceivers who don’t quite mean what they seem to say. At present, I’m partial to, well, “presently.” At first glance, I would’ve though it meant “right now,” but a closer interpretation is, “soon, though in a bit.” Well, I’ll be….

    Another favorite, words whose meaning centuries of use have changed. A little over 300 years ago, when Christopher Wren showed off St. Paul Cathedral to King William (he of “William and Mary” fame), the monarch pronounced it “awful and artificial.”

    High praise, that, as “awful” in the late 1600s signified something which inspired awe, and “artificial” meant “artistic.” A more modern interpretation of William’s commentary would be “awesome and stylish.”

    Funny thing. Think of how our own phrasing will evolve over the next 300 years. Incredulous question, circa 2322 – “Wait, she said WHAT?”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Schatzi is one of my favorite German words. It means “my treasure” and I picked it up while hanging out with my husband’s and my friends while living there. It’s now a word that I use all the time to express my love for my husband. We’ve been married for 17 years later this year and together for 18. ❤️ and I’m only 35!

    Like

    1. Gracious (my husband uses gracious as a pun on gracias and my mother’s favorite exclamation was goodness gracious)! #feelingjubilant to find your note. I’m always enamored by your vocabulary usage, Cheryl! Do you see the seminal effects?

      Liked by 1 person

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