Scornful X-isms, X-manteaus, and X derivatives

People in the public eye, especially celebrities and political figures, are often subject to linguistic scorn, either by quotations that take on a memic life of their own (Bushisms from George W. Bush, Cruisiana from Tom Cruise) or by morphological formations (portmanteaus and derivatives) that allude to these public figures (Reaganaut/Reagonaut).

Scornful portmanteaus are scarcely new: see feminazi (feminist + Nazi) from the political right, Repuglican (repugnant + Republican) from the political left. But certain figures are attractors for them. Barack Obama, for instance; beyond a small number of examples like BarackBerry (Barack + BlackBerry), there are endless Obamamanteaus (I wish I could say I’d invented this one, and there aren’t a lot of citations, but I surely didn’t get in there first), a few of them collected in Mark Liberman’s Language Log posting “Lexical Obamanations” (here) and Ben Zimmer’s comment on it.

But now Charlie Sheen has come along and opened up a whole new world, of Sheenisms or Sheenonyms or Sheen-guistics (respectively, an ordinary derivative, a compound-like word with Sheeno- as a combining form, and a portmanteau), and of course of words for talking about Sheen and his bizarre public rants.

To my mind the masterpiece of the Sheen-based morphological formations is the portmanteau Sheenenfreude (Sheen + Schadenfreude), for pleasure experienced at the travails of Charlie Sheen.

Somewhat more mundanely, there are verbings of Sheen, as in this passage from the NYT on March 6 (in the print edition):

When Your Life Becomes a Verb

LAST Monday night Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of “South Park,” regaled the audience of “Late Show with David Letterman” with a vivid description of their appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony in 2000. They told the audience how they decided to dress in drag that night — their hairy chests scantily covered in silk and taffeta — which they fretted was a mistake even before they left home.

“Then we did some Charlie Sheen-ing and we were fine,” said Mr. Parker, to a roar of laughter.

Added Mr. Stone: “We were just sheening our heads off.”

(Hat tip to Joel Berson on ADS-L.) Urban Dictionary has an entry for the verbing sheen ‘to get completely shit-housed blackout drunk; this may or may not include disorderly conduct, public urination, or public indecency’ and for the nominalization sheening of it ‘a 72 hour or more hooker, alcohol and blow extravaganza, sometimes ending in a hospital stay and/or death’. (Hat tip to Garson O’Toole.)

That brings us to Sheenmemes, as covered by Ben Zimmer here and Mark Peters here, with links to other sources, in particular here. These Sheenathon sites include the memorable Vatican assassin warlocks (surely there’s already a rock group with that name) and winning used widely, but especially as a kind of spoken exclamation point (easier to produce than in Victor Borge‘s scheme of “phonetic pronunciation”).

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