Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Word of the Day: Pasquinade
Blogs have become the modern day pasquinade of choice
Word of the Day
Definition: A piece of writing that ridicules a specific person and is posted in a public place; a public lampoon of a particular person.
Usage: Like the pasquinade, a lampoon is a composition that uses literary devices such as metaphor, simile, and irony to attack someone. The difference between a pasquinade and a lampoon is that the pasquinade publically ridicules a person named, while the lampoon may be directed toward a group or otherwise protect individuals.
Today, the Web is a fertile field for the pasquinade because of its structure: no peer editing or review and no corporate sponsorship and party line, means that individuals can anonymously and publicly ridicule other people. (Stay tuned for the difference between lampoon and satire.) A pasquinader is one who writes pasquinades; the act of doing so is pasquinading.
Suggested Usage: The workplace brings out the pasquinade-drafting impulse in some people: "When Sheila announced the bonuses, Reginald had to make a quick dash to the water cooler to remove his colorful pasquinade about the members of the corporate hierarchy." It’s a practice not limited to adults; in fact, many of the most talented pasquinaders are youngsters. In junior high school many of us pasquinaded our teachers at length—and accompanying caricatures only raised our compositions’ entertainment value.
Etymology: French, from Italian "pasquinata," from "Pasquino." A statue representing Menelaus with the body of Patroclus stands in the Piazza di Pasquino, a small square near the Piazza Navona in Rome. Legend holds that Pasquino, a tailor in the Piazza, had a sharp wit and a reputation for lampooning, and sometimes he hung his most pointed observations from the statue in the square. The statue took on his name when others joined in Pasquino’s pastime, pinning their lampoons on the statue until, finally, the practice of publically lampooning others itself took on his name.
–Dr. Language, YourDictionary.com
Posted by Patrick Henry at 9:39 AM