Tuesday, 13 October 2015

fun fact

Though in its original meaning, the trivia signified the foundational triad of the liberal arts—that being grammar, rhetoric and logic, needed to be mastered before graduating to the more stimulating disciplines of music, geometry, arithmetic and astronomy, its Latin adjectival form (triviฤlis, a word which has surely been claimed by some pharmaceutical or disputed game-show outcome arbitrage service by now) already denoted something akin to the English form trivial—trifling and fit for the street corner, being where three paths met. One ought to be proud of one’s accumulated knowledge and share it magnanimously and without stint, but this etymology and association makes me think of some pusher standing at an intersection bellowing to passers-by, “The mad professor intoning ‘Science!’ in She Blinded me with Science is show-master Magnus Pyke, cousin of Geoffrey Pyke eccentric, well-meaning boffin who proposed building aircraft carriers out of ice and saw-dust during World War II. The first one’s free! Spermology is the study of trivia!” This literal deconstruction makes me also think of how pornography means, innocently, the writing of prostitutes: “Dear Diary, What a day – but it’s better than waitressing…”