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Thread: Mercurial: tell me what it means

  1. #31
    Dark Lord of the Sith maul52's Avatar
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    Re: Mercurial: tell me what it means

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle David View Post
    Tarzan: "Well, I came here wondering whether allegiances would be maintained, and I sense we've fallen apart. So that makes the whole thing totally mercurial at this point. Not knowing which way or how it's going to go."

    Yes, Tarzan's use of the word was appropriate.

    My problem isn't that Kat didn't know the meaning of the word. As we've seen on this forum it's not unusual for people to be unfamiliar with 'mercurial'. My problem was with her reaction. It appeared clear to me that she had disdain for his employment of a word we don't often hear in day to day conversation. My impression of Kat is that if you don't dumb down the conversation for her she considers you a ________. (fill in the blank) I find this type of reaction to an extensive vocabulary to be a sort of reverse elitism, and I'm not a fan.

    I welcome her to revel in her ignorance, but I take umbrage with anyone who finds it humorous when others try to better themselves with a more extensive vocabulary.
    Here is where something I've been suspicious about over the 24 seasons of Survivor comes into play. I'm sure everyone here knows that TC is much longer than it appears on TV and we only see a fraction of the entire event. In addition, we know that the producers edit the footage extensively. I've come to doubt that any given reaction shot shown at TC is legitimately in response to what we are hearing at that point in time. If the person speaking and the person reacting are not in the same camera frame then we have no idea if the reaction is in any way related to what we are hearing. I suspect that the producers frequently pair up reaction shots with entirely unrelated audio for dramatic effect.
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  2. #32
    Mr. (Not so) Perfect Snake 3D Champion, Bouncing Balls Champion
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    Re: Mercurial: tell me what it means

    Somewhat unrelated to this, but that reminds me of the TC moment in Survivor All-Stars where we see Lex look on in shock when Kathy doesn't give him her Immunity. On the commentary he said it was a response to something else. So, true. A badly edited example as well was in Samoa when one of the jury members, Brett, at the FTC made a comment to the finalists that was followed by a shot of another juror at the bench laughing. However you could see Brett sitting next to him.

  3. #33
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    Re: Mercurial: tell me what it means

    All of which makes one suspect that the producer for this segment didn't know the meaning of mercurial, and thinking Tarzan was being pompous used a shot of Kat to express his own response rather than hers!

    I'd use volatile to describe a situation (e.g., what's been going on on Survivor) and mercurial to describe a person (e.g., Tarza). Unless I was in chem class of course and discussing gas!

    I like a dictionary with a good description of the origins of the word...aka etymology... so in the case of callipygian... [From Greek kallipugos : kalli-, beautiful (from kallos, beauty) + pug, buttocks.]. I first heard/read the term in a description of a human being being exhibited in Europe in the 1800's... she was a "pygmy" from Central Africa, who was also described as having steatopygia---drawings from the era make J. Lo and Kim K. look positively flat hipped. One thing to notice from the definitions of steatopygia is that they usually include both the words common and abnormal...indicating that the "standard" is someone more like Prince William's Kate.

  4. #34
    Kiz
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    Re: Mercurial: tell me what it means

    I have a fairly extensive vocabulary, but I'll admit to having never known the word mercurial until just recently after seeing it in a very popular book trilogy. Having a Kindle, I checked to see how many times the author used mecurial in the voice of the main character to describe her "boyfriend", and she used it a total of 21 times. I think the author needs a thesaurus. But, it's certainly a word I won't forget now.

    Isn't it funny how you hear a new word, and it starts popping up in the most unlikely places? I sure didn't expect it to hear it on Survivor. In all liklihood, I'd heard or seen it in the past but had never paid attention to it.
    You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. ~Humbert

  5. #35
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    Re: Mercurial: tell me what it means

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiz View Post
    I have a fairly extensive vocabulary, but I'll admit to having never known the word mercurial until just recently after seeing it in a very popular book trilogy. Having a Kindle, I checked to see how many times the author used mecurial in the voice of the main character to describe her "boyfriend", and she used it a total of 21 times. I think the author needs a thesaurus. But, it's certainly a word I won't forget now.

    Isn't it funny how you hear a new word, and it starts popping up in the most unlikely places? I sure didn't expect it to hear it on Survivor. In all liklihood, I'd heard or seen it in the past but had never paid attention to it.
    This happens to all of us; I love it. Our thoughts attract more like (law of attraction). It is fun to see how powerful our minds are and how thought attracts more thoughts like it, experiences as well. I find this in reading all the time. And many small things like talking to a friend about crows and how much I love them (very nifty bird). That day I saw several throughout the course of the day and they are not common in Florida. I then told another friend how cool this was and we talked about more about crows and this phenomenon. The next mornging I had, at least, 40 of them sitting on the wires infront of my house! Nowhere else on the block; only in my front yard!

    I was talking to a friend about how cool crows were, very interesting bird. I have always liked seeing them

  6. #36
    All Summer-y Arielflies's Avatar
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    Re: Mercurial: tell me what it means

    As an aside about crows/ravens - in fantasy and sometimes horror stories, they are the portents of doom. Whenever a character sees a crow/raven, black magic is in the air or close by. So, I agree, they are cool in an archetype sort of way.

    Didn't Alfred Hitchcock use crows as the wire sitters in his film, "The Birds?"
    The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. Dorothy Parker, (attributed)

  7. #37
    Kiz
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    Re: Mercurial: tell me what it means

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoepie View Post
    This happens to all of us; I love it. Our thoughts attract more like (law of attraction). It is fun to see how powerful our minds are and how thought attracts more thoughts like it, experiences as well. I find this in reading all the time. And many small things like talking to a friend about crows and how much I love them (very nifty bird). That day I saw several throughout the course of the day and they are not common in Florida. I then told another friend how cool this was and we talked about more about crows and this phenomenon. The next mornging I had, at least, 40 of them sitting on the wires infront of my house! Nowhere else on the block; only in my front yard!

    I was talking to a friend about how cool crows were, very interesting bird. I have always liked seeing them
    That's a neat story. It's also a great example of how much of our environment we filter out and how it only takes is a little nudge to bring something to our conscious.

    Regarding crows being portents of doom, maybe that came about because a group is called a *murder of crows*.
    You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. ~Humbert

  8. #38
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    Re: Mercurial: tell me what it means

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle David View Post
    Tarzan: "Well, I came here wondering whether allegiances would be maintained, and I sense we've fallen apart. So that makes the whole thing totally mercurial at this point. Not knowing which way or how it's going to go."

    Yes, Tarzan's use of the word was appropriate.

    My problem isn't that Kat didn't know the meaning of the word. As we've seen on this forum it's not unusual for people to be unfamiliar with 'mercurial'. My problem was with her reaction. It appeared clear to me that she had disdain for his employment of a word we don't often hear in day to day conversation. My impression of Kat is that if you don't dumb down the conversation for her she considers you a ________. (fill in the blank) I find this type of reaction to an extensive vocabulary to be a sort of reverse elitism, and I'm not a fan.

    I welcome her to revel in her ignorance, but I take umbrage with anyone who finds it humorous when others try to better themselves with a more extensive vocabulary.
    I, too, agree with you, Uncle David. It's not uncommon for me carefully choose my words in order to try to express what I mean as precisely as possible. It's how I grew up and it's natural for me to use a varied vocabulary.

    In the film, Auntie Mame, when Patrick first comes to live with her, he tells her he doesn't understand what someone said. I'm paraphrasing a little here, but essentially her reply was that she was giving him a notebook. She told him to write down any words he did not understand and each evening, they would look them up in the dictionary together. That little piece of wisdom was one of my favorites from a book, a movie, and a Broadway musical that I loved.
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  9. #39
    Teach your children Uncle David's Avatar
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    Re: Mercurial: tell me what it means

    Quote Originally Posted by Florimel View Post
    She told him to write down any words he did not understand and each evening, they would look them up in the dictionary together.
    I love when people use a word I don't understand in a book, movie or Broadway musical. I get to look it up in my dictionary, and possibly add a new word to my vocabulary. 'Possibly', because even though I love to know the meaning of words, there are some words I just don't envision using. Callipygian comes to mind.
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  10. #40
    Red Sox Nation Brooks's Avatar
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    Re: Mercurial: tell me what it means

    OK, Iím just not convinced. You know how some people swear because they canít find or donít want to expend the effort to find a better word? I think Tarzan knows a lot of cool words but I think he uses them instead of something comparable but simpler in part because he has difficulties expressing himself (if that makes any sense). Take a look at his facial expressions when he uses them, what I remember seemed forced, same as when he spouts platitudes like "game's afoot". He swears a lot too when a wordsmith wouldnít need to. Now if he indicates heís an obsessive scrabble or similar player, then maybe itís all legitimate. Something to look for this evening.

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