Welcome to another installment of SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.
Around this time each week, anguished wails begin seeping out of the bunker’s ventilation ducts: Why all these newfangled words?
Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, the ones that sufficed during the glory days, in those simpler times before inexplicably naked greed kicked in like a bond-issue-percentage speedball, knocking you back into the turnbuckles but feeling oh so fine, and now, as the Great Elongated and Exasperated Obfuscator of comic book series fame (can Disney World be far behind?) you teach detailed principles of banking to bankers, at least when not otherwise occupied making healthy deposits into your own account?
Thankfully, even if one toils for the Beloved and Respected Leader, a healthy vocabulary isn’t about intimidation through erudition. No, not at all. Rather, it’s about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one’s pay grade or station in life.
Even municipal corporate attorneys reaping handsome remuneration to suppress information and to squelch community dialogue can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate CPIs, IUDs and IOUs, all we really have is time — and the opportunity to learn something, if we’re so inclined.
Let’s introduce today’s word by looking at pictures.
Yes, this week’s word will be familiar to anyone who ever attended a Chicanery … er, make that a Redevelopment Commission meeting. But first, a step back from chicanery to the root word, itself quite ironic in the New Albanian sense.
A chicane is an artificial feature creating extra turns in a road, used in motor racing and on streets to slow traffic for safety. For example, one form of chicane is a short, shallow S-shaped turn, requiring the driver to turn slightly left and then right again to stay on the road, which slows them down. Chicane comes from the French verb chicaner, which means “to quibble” or “to prevent justice”.
Justice through prevention? Sounds reasonable to me. The photo (credit to Wikipedia) shows a chicane as a “type of ‘horizontal deflection’ used in traffic calming schemes to reduce the speed of traffic.” Just our luck. Chicanery’s everywhere in New Albany, when what we really need are (in the immortal words of Slim Pickens) a shitload of chicanes.
noun, plural chicaneries
1. trickery or deception by quibbling or sophistry: He resorted to the worst flattery and chicanery to win the job
2. a quibble or subterfuge used to trick, deceive, or evade
Origin of chicanery
1605-1615; < French chicanerie. See chicane, -ery
Someone make a banner: “Down with chicanery — long live the chicane!” We could tie it to a tree … are any left standing?