Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday and Sundry Words and Things: guayabera, Klein bottle, & woke.

I've learned a few new, to me, words this week: guayabera, Klein bottle, and woke.

Guayabera : I came across this one at The Sartorialist, a daily stop on my wander through the streets and back alleys of the internet. It's a garment once, possibly still, favoured by males living in certain countries.
The origin of the garment is something of a mystery, thought to be the result of a mixture of Native American and Spanish styles, developed in the late 18th or early 19th centuries. Various claims for the distinctive style have been made, from Mexico to other Latin American countries to the Philippines.(Wiki.)

Klein bottle : this one appeared in a comment thread on a political website, context of its metaphorical use, in that instance, would be a little too involved to fully explain here, and in any case I'd probably get myself into political trouble. So, just the words. Wikipedia tell us that:
In mathematics, the Klein bottle is an example of a non-orientable surface; it is a two-dimensional manifold against which a system for determining a normal vector cannot be consistently defined. Informally, it is a one-sided surface which, if traveled upon, could be followed back to the point of origin while flipping the traveler upside down. Other related non-orientable objects include the Möbius strip and the real projective plane. Whereas a Möbius strip is a surface with boundary, a Klein bottle has no boundary (for comparison, a sphere is an orientable surface with no boundary). The Klein bottle was first described in 1882 by the German mathematician Felix Klein.

Picture a bottle with a hole in the bottom. Now extend the neck. Curve the neck back on itself, insert it through the side of the bottle without touching the surface (an act which is impossible in three-dimensional space), and extend the neck down inside the bottle until it joins the hole in the bottom. A true Klein bottle in four dimensions does not intersect itself where it crosses the side.

Unlike a drinking glass, this object has no “rim” where the surface stops abruptly. Unlike a balloon, a fly can go from the outside to the inside without passing through the surface (so there isn’t really an “outside” and “inside”).

More detail HERE.

Clear as mud? It was to me too. This little video might help.

Or, there's this (hat-tip HERE)

A German topologist named Klein
Thought the Mobius Loop was divine
Said he, "If you glue
The edges of two
You get a weird bottle like mine."

My own encounter with the Klein bottle was in a metaphorical sense, for which it has much fertile ground (without boundaries!)

It exemplifies the concept of a merging continuum or union of opposites. The Klein bottle embodies the type of paradox that could be incorporated into language to be able to speak into being a world that works for everyone—us and them, old and young, rich and poor, conservative and liberal, black, white, yellow, and brown—at the same time. For the world to work for all, I propose a linguistic structure based in the notion of both/and.

Woke : It's a word, of course, a common one; but it's being used nowadays as a concept.

A David Brooks' piece in the New York Times a few weeks back:
How Cool Works in America Today

Mr Brooks' article begins:
If you grew up in the 20th century, there’s a decent chance you wanted to be like Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Humphrey Bogart, Albert Camus, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean or Jimi Hendrix. In their own ways, these people defined cool.

The cool person is stoical, emotionally controlled, never eager or needy, but instead mysterious, detached and self-possessed. The cool person is gracefully competent at something, but doesn’t need the world’s applause to know his worth. That’s because the cool person has found his or her own unique and authentic way of living with nonchalant intensity.

He later continues:
I started to look around to see if there might be another contemporary ethos that has replaced the cool ethos. You could say the hipster ethos you find in, say, Brooklyn qualifies. But that strikes me as less of a cultural movement and more of a consumer aesthetic.

A better candidate is the “woke” ethos. The modern concept of woke began, as far as anybody can tell, with a 2008 song by Erykah Badu.

He expands on "woke" individuals:
The woke mentality became prominent in 2012 and 2013 with the Trayvon Martin case and the rise of Black Lives Matter. Embrace it or not, B.L.M. is the most complete social movement in America today, as a communal, intellectual, moral and political force.

The woke mentality has since been embraced on the populist right, by the conservative “normals” who are disgusted with what they see as the thorough corruption of the Republican and Democratic establishments. See Kurt Schlichter’s Townhall essay “We Must Elect Senator Kid Rock” as an example of right-wing wokedness.

To be woke is to be radically aware and justifiably paranoid. It is to be cognizant of the rot pervading the power structures. The woke manner shares cool’s rebel posture, but it is the opposite of cool in certain respects. Cool was politically detached, but being a social activist is required for being woke. Cool was individualistic, but woke is nationalistic and collectivist. Cool was emotionally reserved; woke is angry, passionate and indignant. Cool was morally ambiguous; woke seeks to establish a clear marker for what is unacceptable.

Postscript: A couple of my own archived posts on the subject of old-fashioned "cool": HERE (2009) and part 2 is HERE; there are some comments too.


Wisewebwoman said...

I live and learn though the Klein type of bottle was demonstrated here as an archaeological artifact which fascinated me.

And yes, I know some "wokes".


Wisewebwoman said...

*Through you. Everything ran together......grrr

R J Adams said...

Oh, I'm too old for all this frivolous changing of the language. "Woke", indeed! And as for the Klein bottle, I'd use it to keep the milk in. Also, can you please tell Blogger to stop these infernally stupid pictures one has to click on a dozen times in order to become "verified" as not a robot. It's incredibly frustrating! Their definition of a 'road sign' bears no resemblance to mine.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Do you - that's good! The world will soon be needing multitudes of 'em.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Oooer RJ!...I'm waiting for "and get off my lawn!" ;-)

I didn't realise Blogger is still annoying any stray readers who pass by here. I did what I could to stop that silly picture blockade a while ago. They used to do it to me too, but that stopped so I assumed it had stopped for everyone.