May 15, 2003

Of etymologies and footnotes …

I started the previous entry (about the poem and the story idea) yesterday but got side-tracked and could not complete the entry till today. However, after I’d published the entry, I suddenly remembered how I’d gotten started on the poem in the first place and while it is by no means an important thing, it might make an interesting footnote if I ever were to write the story and since I probably would have forgotten all about it by then, I decided to jot it down here :p

I was trying to figure out the word to describe somebody who hated both men and women for some reason and was trying to work my way forward from misogynist and androgynist. I thought the latter was the opposite of misogynist because of the prefix andro- though I’ve later come to see that I’m probably in error there though I can’t verify for sure at the moment due to the fact that I am at home right now and don’t have access to my biggest research tool – the Internet :p Anyway, I was amused for a bit by the fact that homogenist wasn’t the term I was looking for (I later realized that the word I was actually looking for was misanthrope :p) and dallied a bit with other prefixes like duo- and bi- (which in my mind became bio for some strange reason – probably to create biogynist which would be similar to duogynist <g>) and so on.

Somewhere along the way though, I went back to androgynist but began working with the andro- prefix. From andro- it was just a step to android and this in turn led to me thinking about the story title of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" and from that was born the poem 🙂 Incidentally, I remember thinking of other similar/strange story titles at that time like "Overdrawn at the Memory Banks" (again Philip K. Dick’s I thought at first but turned out to be by John Varley – "We Can Remember it for you Wholesale" is the Philip K. Dick story that I was thinking of …) and "’Repent Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman". The latter story for some reason left me with a very strong impression of a strangely restricted world (even though I don’t even remember the story anymore) and it gives me a sense of a "New Wave" writer – I’m tempted to say almost Moorcock-esque but that’s not who I’m thinking of … – not that any of this has anything to do with what I started out to write about but all of these were things that passed through my mind at that point and so maybe has some relevance :p (Oh yeah, J. G. Ballard was the "New Wave" writer I was thinking of though I’m not even sure if he’s really "New Wave" :p)

Update: I realized later that I was working with the wrong prefix in looking at androgynist as the antonym of misogynist (talk about clueless :p) and then as soon as I figured that, I hit upon the correct antonym – misandry :p

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Tags: Books, Words, Writing
Posted by Fahim at 7:41 pm   Comments (1)