Saturday, 10 December 2016

phubbing or the bowed head tribe

BBC Future magazine has a really fascinating article examining how language invents novel labels to delineate the rules of etiquette and protocol and how to characterise those who are seen as the transgressors. Public and private manners when it comes to engagement with one’s immediate surroundings and interlocutors or recourse to something or someone more interesting to be found at the other end of the telecommunications æther is a topic that perhaps is a little too close for comfort and the inspired terminologies—classifications like the phoney taxia of a cartoon coyote and road-runner, the former never giving up and the latter always evading capturing like some mythological beasts—which can indeed skewer their targets.
In Asia cultures, they recognise tribal and clan affiliation for the distant and distracted, though it’s Germany that’s putting cross-walk warnings on the pavement to reach inattentive pedestrians. Moreover, Germany’s Youth Word of the Year for 2015 was “Smombie,” a portmanteau of smart-phone and zombie. I had heard variations of these names beforehand that range from the self-effacing to the ironic to the cantankerous, something that an old man would shout—possibly not without warrant, but what most interested me was a new word for the very old concept of phubbing from Australia: phone snubbing. We’ve probably all been perpetrators or victims of the phenomena of sitting with some physically present friends or family and ignoring them in favour of one’s on-line ones. There’s probably a modern fairy tale with a nice morale to be found there as well. What’s your favourite label for those constantly networking and what would you choose for yourself?