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- Subject: Other news
- From: Andrew Rodenhiser
- Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 11:11:08 AST
>From the Daily News Online, http://www.hfxnews.com/Fringe.html
`Duh' may get in dictionary
By JACOB STOHLER-- Scripps Howard News Service
Here's a question: In Webster's next dictionary, what word may soon
pop up between dugout and DUI?
That's right. "Duh," the lowly, three-letter interjection and insult
is hoping to take its place among the arcane, the polysylabbic and
the Latin-rooted in the official canon of American English.
The editors at Webster's have it on their short list, along with such
current faves as phat and dis, and will decide soon the fate of duh.
So after 50 years of flying below linguists' radar, duh finally may
rise into official view. As far as many people are concerned, there
is no question about this one.
Duh has helped millions of people in countless conversations, and
it's about time the little interjection got its due.
"What you're really doing is making a mocking comment of the person
you're talking about," said Mike Agnes, Webster's editorial director
and the man who will decide duh's fate. "It's instantly recognized,
and there is an awful lot of meaning in that one word."
Like many words, duh began with kids. Its first recorded use came in
a 1943 Merrie Melodies cartoon, but its popularity solidified
sometime in the late 1950s as kids realized there was no known
comeback to a good duh-ing.
It spent a couple decades in its original form (the longer, lower-
voiced "duuuuuuuuhhhhhh"), became the abbreviated (but still flat)
duh by 1960, went negative in the early '80s with the Valley Girls'
as "no duh" and in this decade has settled down as the plain old duh
(upward intonation optional) in use today.
And in use, it is.
A quick content analysis shows its media appearances have risen a
whopping 450 per cent in the past two years. Even highbrow
publications such as The Washington Post can't seem to resist:
"We would have ordered a pair of $48 jeans from fashionmall.com,"
they wrote in a story about Internet shopping, "but the site (duh!)
didn't let us choose an inseam length."
In fact, journalists lately have been hurling duhs with a kind of
unrestrained frenzy, such as the Duh of the Week in the Chicago Sun-
Times' sports section (example: "We really haven't had a lot of
playoff success since '89," from a hockey player whose team hasn't
won a playoff game since 1989).
New church smells like teen spirituality
Church of Kurt Cobain offers religious nirvana in dead rock star's
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A fledgling church for disaffected youth has
chosen as its patron saint the ultimate symbol of disaffection - dead
grunge rocker Kurt Cobain.
Underneath Cobain's brooding, self-absorbed music is a deeper
spiritual message, says Jim Dillon, founder of the Church of Kurt
"I think there are a lot of people who feel like they are not being
talked to in their own language," says Dillon, who describes himself
as the church's de facto pastor.
"These so-called Generation X-ers feel disassociated with society at
large." Dillon solemnly insists the church is for real. He says he
got the idea from a church in San Francisco that incorporates the
music of jazz legend John Coltrane into its services.
The church hopes to find meaning in the musician's tragic life,
Dillon says. Cobain fatally shot himself in April 1994 at his home in
The nondenominational congregation plans to meet once or twice a
month, most likely in a member's home, and is looking for a "real
reverend," says Dillon, a relatively clean-cut 29-year-old who works
for a desktop publishing company when he's not overseeing the church.
Dillon says his sermons most likely will be based on songs from
Cobain's band Nirvana, best known for the hit Smells Like Teen
For example, he says the song Rape Me is really about brotherly
love. The lyrics are: "Rape me my friend. Rape me again, I'm not the
only one. Hate me. Do it and do it again. Waste me. Taste me my
friend. My favorite inside source. I'll kick your open sores.
Appreciate your concern. You'll always stink and burn."
"It's actually a double negative," Dillon says. "In essence, the real
message is one of a Christian theme - treat me the way you want me
to treat you."
So far, the church has 12 members and plans a rally Tuesday to sign
up more. Donations will be accepted at the rally for the Hemlock
Society, which advocates doctor-assisted suicide for the terminally
Dillon stresses the church does not condone suicides such as
Portland already has a church named after a famous star, The Church
of Elvis. But unlike the satirical, kitschy Elvis shrine, Dillon says
the Cobain church is serious.
He would not comment on whether Cobain's wife, Courtney Love, leader
of another grunge band, Hole, was aware of the church.
A Seattle editor who has written extensively about Cobain says the
rocker would be offended by the church.
"This was someone who very clearly in his life was not someone who
wanted to be held above his fans or worshipped," says Charles Cross,
editor of the bi-weekly Seattle music magazine, The Rocket.
"This may be a sign that our culture as we know it is coming to an
end, or people can find spirituality in anything."