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Showing posts from November 3, 2019

cancelling excitement culture

I have lately been feeling pity for the word “excite”. The origin of the word is respectable, and even stuffy – from cite, or move, come forth. Cite appears in English first, as a legal term: a summons. Excite is a summoning too, but one that was connotatively associated with the body. When I learned French in high school, one of the things we were told that made us giggle is not to use “excite” in French, since it was vaguely sexual – a summoning of the libido. To me, as an American, exciting is associated with more innocent things, or at least libidinously compensatory activities. “Isn’t this exciting” was inevitably ironic, for high schoolers. It was the type of thing the Sunday School teacher said about some dreary game meant to amuse us and edify us biblically. Exciting still carried that whiff of the bogus, that eyeroll quotation marks, into the eighties. But at some point – perhaps when business schools overtook the humanities as the degree of choice – exciting was r