Disillusioned affection and onomatomania

Two psychological phenomena of ordinary life in One Big Happy strips from 2010 (replays of which have come by in my comics feed in the last few days) — the Purple Snot strip (from 3/31/10) and the Ninkey Schlintl strip (from 4/1/10):


(#1) Disillusioned affection via purple snot


(#2) Onomatomania for the name Ninkey Schlintl

Disillusioned affection. A common enough phenomenon in everyday life (but lacking a conventional term referring to it; given #1, you might refer to it as the Purple Snot Phenomenon, or PSP). In one form of PSP, love for someone is dampened by learning of their deficiencies — their inclination to anything from mere gross behavior (producing metaphorical purple snot) through actual viciousness. “Then I learned what they were really like…”

Another form of PSP is manifested in a disheartened belief in a religious or political leader or a system of thought. “Then the scales fell from my eyes…”

Onomatomania. First, since everybody wants to know, I don’t believe there’s been an actual person named Ninkey Schlintl. Schlintl appears to be a moderately common Austrian surname, so Schlintls can now presumably be found in other places as well. Ninkey is the first name of Ninkey Dalton, a businessman who lives in L.A., and no, I don’t know where his unusual personal name came from. But the combination of the two seems not to have occurred yet in real life. (I will, however, note that the name is pleasurable to say because of its phonology: for starters, two trochaic words, SW SW, with plenty of assonance, /ɪ…i…ɪ…/, and those three /n/s.)

Put that aside, and focus instead on meaningless sounds (like om), or meaningful expressions (words or phrases) emptied of meaning by repetition and so treated as mere sound (like Ninkey Schlindl in #2) — mantras, in both the original and extended senses. From NOAD:

noun mantra: 1 (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) [a] a word [or phrase] or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation: a mantra is given to a trainee meditator when his teacher initiates him. [b] a Vedic hymn: her high, sweet voice began chanting the mantra of life. 2 [AZ: an extended sense] a statement or slogan repeated frequently: the environmental mantra that energy has for too long been too cheap.

Then further extended to cover

[3, not in NOAD] a found mantra (an existing expression, like a name, catchphrase, or slogan) repeated to provide pleasure, in a moment of focused play outside the flow of ordinary life

The repetition of mantric material, in the practice of meditation (as an aid to achieving an altered, calmer, state of consciousness), but especially as a playful practice briefly obtruding into ordinary life, has come up repeatedly on this blog, thanks to Zippy the Pinhead’s fascination with the playful practice, under various names, including two general terms for mantric repetition (especially if obsessive — onomatomania (which has become my preferred term) and battology — and two terms for obsessive repetition, especially if it seems to be involuntary, when it’s thought of as an affliction — phrase repetition disorder and repetitive phrase disorder.

(Some extended discussion of the playful practice in my 7/18/21 posting “Between the glutes”, about the bodypart the intergluteal cleft, crowd chants, crowd behavior, onomatomania, the provincial capital Rovno / Rivne (site of “warfare, conflagrations, suppressions, migrations, and invasions” over the centuries), and the song “I Am Easily Assimilated” from the musical Candide (in which the Old Woman sings, “My father came from Rovno Gubernya”). Yes, the Rivne now in Ukraine, which I’ll write about in a separate posting.)

A wrap-up note: purple snot makes a pretty decent found mantra. Try it out.

2 Responses to “Disillusioned affection and onomatomania”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Like Zippy, I’m more susceptible to the lure of found mantras than the average bear. Moments ago, a mailer from bon appétit magazine offered a recipe for

    One-pot puttanesca

    and then I was stuck in the embrace of an excellent tetrameter line

    S S SW SW

    looping over and over in my head. You could dance to it. You could chant it repeatedly as a political slogan, demanding one-pot puttanesca for the people.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    Woke this morning to the politically relevant mantra OLEG DEREPASKA, a solid

    SW SW S S

    so prosodically equivalent to a favorite of mine from decades back, CHICHICASTENANGO.

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