Archive for the 'lexical revelations' Category


Perhaps it seems fitting, on this day of celebration, that our busy busy policy people warn us anew of Russia’s ever-growing desire to subvert our own fearless, God-loving country and tower astride it in ursine world domination. Roar.

Fitting, that is, because it is on this day that we celebrate the first anniversary of the Clandestine Panda Service.

Founded many months ago, on a server far away, the CPS had a humble beginning. I don’t think it was even called the Clandestine Panda Service initially: as some of our readers may recall, that name arose in the mind of one CPS staff writer after seeing a giant panda on the sweater of a man getting into a van. At least one of the first few posts was written from the point-of-view of a beaver, and the contemplation of shaving cream was a recurrent theme.

Hardly an auspicious start. However, many things have changed since then. The CPS moved house once, went through blog-themes faster than a 13-year-old girl goes through lipgloss; its writership swelled from a self-important, monophonic narrator to a vaguely schizophrenic first-person-plural voice reminiscent of The Economist or a scientific paper. Its content ricocheted from the heartwarming to the haughtily ironic, from the fictional to the narcissistically real, and everywhere in between. Stringent policies against links (e.g. the “no-blog-posts-about-random-internet-crap” rule) rose and fell like nomadic chieftains, and at this late hour are generally ignored.

Throughout it all, however, the CPS writership has striven to maintain a readable voice and a likable sense of humor. Our theory is that pandas are cuddly, and we should be too; that if we have to be ursine, we needn’t be so in the dominatrixine* manner of the Russians.

All the good intentions in the world, however, are for naught if nobody pays any attention. Like newspapers or characters in a novel, without our readership we cease to exist. It is therefore thanks to (or the fault of) a small-yet-dedicated group of readers that the essential work of the CPS goes on.

There is much not to like here. In fact, when you get right down to it, the CPS has almost none of the elements of a successful blog (consistent voice, regular postings, a topical focus), and is actually rather silly. It sustains itself with the belief that the world has enough of those things already, and if its problems are so grave that it can’t loosen up and read something meaningless then it’s about time it stopped fucking around on the computer and set about fixing them.

A gentle, submissive bear-hug to all who share, or at least tolerate, that world view, and who make the CPS what it continues to be, or not. At any rate, here’s to more of the same!

*It turns out that the archaic feminine suffix “-trix” has no adjectival form. At least, this source doesn’t mention one, and since we no longer go to school and are cheap, we cannot consult the OED on the matter. CPS lexicographers have therefore fabricated an adjectival suffix suffix, with the hope that, even if it’s not correct, it will at least have a nice ring to it. Thus is born “dominatrixine,” meaning “of or resembling a dominatrix.” Happy birthday.

harshly britical

The inestimable Arts & Letters Daily directs our attention to a bitter/hilarious rant against the behavior of British expatriates in New York.

We were somewhat taken aback at the author’s vituperativity, which the dictionary informs us is really pronounced “vituperativeness”. Actually, we were under the impression that British people were superior to ourselves, but it now seems that was a ruse.

However, we were delighted to learn a new word: “comestibles“. CPS lexicographers were vaguely aware of its existence—from Monty Python sketches in fact—but had heretofore not seen it in a sincere context. We thus commend “comestibles” to your daily use and link ambivalently to the brit-bashing that brought it to us. Blather.

EDIT: Assiduous searching by CPS archivists and guidence from alert readers uncovered this important source-document.

Panda Service theorists suggest it may show that British people really are superior after all.