A final Commencement Weekend cartoon posting, occasioned by a comment from Kaitlyn Wierzchowski on my “Disney creepitude” posting, about the verbing (in a Zippy cartoon) of the proper name Disney via the derivational suffix -(i)fy (and then on to the nominalization Disneyfication).
Wierzchowski suggested a parallel with the coinage Californication, which would be from the proper name California verbed by the derivational suffix -ic-ate and then nominalized — a formation likely to be facilitated by the existing sexual noun fornication, though Californication as a playmanteau doesn’t necessarily have a sexual sense. (On the other hand, the sense of a playfully formed word can’t always be pinned down exactly. It’s often a matter of fugitive allusions and suggestive echoes, rather than compositional semantics.)
[For some discussion, see my posting on “California + ify” and the comments on it. The current popularity of Californication seems to be due to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song and to the television series.]
But, really, I’d like to wrench this discussion around to my use of the noun creepitude ‘creepiness’ in the title of that Zippy posting. The word has a lot of Zippitude.
I certainly wasn’t the first person to use the word. A recent Rotten Tomatoes Show [devoted to rating movies] Lifetime Achievement Award in Greasy Creepitude (reported on in a number of places) went to actor Peter Stormare, and I had nothing to do with that.
Zippy comes into the story via his many playful uses of the derivational apparatus of English, in particular “-itude where the default nominalizer -ness would be expected”, as I put it in a posting three years ago on “Zippy’s suffixiness” — in senselessitude, for example. The effect of this choice is to up the affective dimension; several people have suggested to me that creepitude, for instance, is more serious, a good bit creepier, than mere creepiness.
Now the God of Zippyworld (who bears some resemblance to Howard Hughes and Clark Gable and Walter Kronkite, though this God exhibits a tendency to gender-shifting that, so far as I know, didn’t manifest itself in any of these possible earthly models) plunges right into the thicket of derivational suffixation: transcending itness, pushing beyond even ititude…
Ah, finally the cartoon!