Friday, November 19, 2004

Mac-a-ro-nies

Mac-a-ro-nies is an intelligent, interesting blog that is unafraid of taking the other, less-espoused side. A recent example:
Two third-party candidates are performing a public service. Ralph Nader and David Cobb have sought recounts of ballots in the race for president. The recounts will test the accuracy of Diebold Election Systems, Inc. voting machines. By taking the initiative, the candidates for president bypass the issue of standing to challenge election results most citizens would face. They also get good publicity for themselves. But, nothing is perfect. I commend them for assuming the cloak of 'statesman'.
Do not confuse this person with the European word from the 18th century for people who adoped high fashion once they went on the Grand Tour

The word came to denote the people who dressed in high fashion with stripes and tall, powdered wigs with a little hat on top - so high that it could only be removed on the point of a sword.
The word 'macaroni' came to refer to a person who exceeded the ordinary bounds of fashion and it eventually became a pejorative term. Exceeding the 'ordinary bounds of fashion' was what the macaronies did best - in terms of clothes, eating and gambling. It was certainly not at all the image of a man that was expected by British society at the time. The term macaroni, then, may have been used as a form of insult.

Macaronies were considered liberal to the extreme, in a pejorative sense. Ref Christopher Anstey's poem "Liberality, or the Decayed Macaroni"
Alas! what Misfortunes attend
The Man of a liberal Mind!
How poor are his Thanks at the End,
From base and ungrateful Mankind!
....
My free and humane Disposition
(Thank Heaven) I ever have shewn
To all in a helpless Condition,
Whose Fortunes I'd first made my own:
liberal. Free, bountiful, generous; also gentlemenlike. (Dictionarium Britannicum, 1730)

Those aren't such bad attributes to espouse, methinks.
Macaroni

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