Z: Il dort

A Peanuts strip from 6/21/65 (thanks to Jeff Bowles) ends up being a tribute to the letter Z:

(#1) Snoopy the Z: he is sleeping

From NOAD on the zdormitive theme:

noun Z: … 3 used in repeated form to represent the sound of buzzing or snoring: I’m being overcome with weariness as I write … zzzzz, zzzzz.

phrase catch some ZsNorth American informal get some sleep: I’ll go back to the hotel and catch some Zs.

Then the film alluded to in my title, from Wikipedia:

Z is a 1969 Algerian-French political thriller film, directed by Costa-Gavras, with a screenplay by Gavras and Jorge Semprún, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Vassilis Vassilikos. The film presents a thinly-fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of the democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. With its dark view of Greek politics and its downbeat ending, the film captures the director’s outrage about the junta that then ruled Greece.

(#2) Poster for the film, with the slogan Z: il est vivant!

… The film’s title refers to a popular Greek protest slogan (Greek: Ζει, IPA: [ˈzi]) meaning “he lives,” in reference to Lambrakis.

Lambrakis lives (only) in spirt. But Snoopy, il dort, he truly sleeps, in Zlumberland at the end of the alphabet.

Seeing through Z-colored glasses. As a Z-person, I’m subject to a perceptual affliction in which I am constantly, but entirely unconsciously, scanning my visual field for instances of the letter z, which then leap out to grab my conscious mind. Z in any form will do it, but upper-case Z (Zorro, Zarathustra, Zoom, Franco Zeffirelli, Zeus, Gheorghe Zamfir, AZE-Z, etc.) is especially powerful; so is double zz (pizza, piazza, buzz, fuzz, muzzle, etc. — twice in pizzazz); and word-initial z (zigzag, zoo, zucchini, zoot suit, zesty, zabaglione, etc.) is more noticeable than word-internal z (razor, wazoo, Mazatlan, bizarre, Sazerac, bazooka, Pizarro, sleazy, etc.) or word-final z (quiz, Oz, Roz Chast, poz, La Paz, Baz Luhrmann, Les Miz, Duz detergent, etc.).

I get a tiny twinge of zpleasure with each ping from a z-word, but the effect is also annoying, because it slows down my reading a bit and deflects attention from other, much more important, things in my visual field. Z-words that are currently in the news a lot, like Zuckerberg, are especially annoying (one more reason to complain about the Zuck).

Occurrences of the name Zwicky itself are of course extraordinarily gripping.

Z-words on this blog. I’m given to posting about words with initial z or Z. A sampling of those on this blog:

on 7/22/10 in “Zippy goes zip-lining”

on 1/5/11 in “Falsely masculine names”, my college nickname Zot (from the anteater in the cartoon B.C.)

on 10/9/13 in “Sunday Book Review language and sex”, the zipless fuck

on 11/18/14 in “The Beastmaster”, the evil king Zed

on 2/1/17 in “At the Zippy Mart”

on 10/4/17 in “Z is for Zip”: drugs with Z in their names (especially the Zip family); Z comics (Zippy, Zits, Bizarro, and more); Zippo lighters; zippers, including sexual ones

on 12/24/19 in “Hung with care”: in a sexual alphabet, Z is a Zany Zen Zionist

on 1/12/20 in “The lure of Zip’s”: Zip’s Diner (with links to earlier postings on it); my father’s nickname Zip

on 6/14/21 in “Omega Omega Top”, ZZ Top

on 10/22/21 in The end of the alphabet”, 4 letter Z pseudonyms of performers: Zedd, Zee, Nick Zedd, Zed

2 Responses to “Z: Il dort”

  1. Mike Pope Says:

    I wonder whether people in general experience an aural version of this—ie. sensitivity to words that sound like their name. (Lots of words have “ike” and “ope” sounds in them)

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      There’s some anecdotal evidence that people are sensitive to productions of their own names in noisy contexts (like cocktail parties), and it makes sense that they would be. I don’t know if that sensitivity extends to name-parts or similar names. (People fairly often call me Ronald, Harold, Donald, or Albert, even Alan or Ernest, but I don’t recall having pricked up my ears on hearing any of them in noise. I do respond to Alex, but that’s an alternative name I sometimes use.)

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