‘Porn’ is the hot mover as affixes have a moment

Delta is not the lone variant in town. As millions of Australians extend their enforced staycation, the English language is being afflicted by affixes. The curse is chronic. Everywhere you look, you see familiar English stems beset by slugs of meaning, attacking the word’s head or foot.

Prefixes click up front, turning mail into email, gender into transgender. While suffixes annex the posterior, making me a verbivore, a wordologist and a cluemonger. Together, such additions are called affixes, and their rise is semantomanic.

Delta is not the only variant we are enduring: the English language is suffering some changes too.Credit:Jo Gay

Libfix is the other label, a cocktail of liberal and affix. You see the trend embodied in robodebt, or other newborns such as subtweet and bridezilla, gastronaut and opinionista. I’m waiting for the day Ash’s faithful entourage is called the Bartyati. Typically, an established word such as diorama will act as an adaptable template into the Futurama and beyond.

Dangerously, some affixes are deemed synonymous. Misinformation, say, differs from disinformation. While both are false by definition, disinformation carries more intent, implying the facts have been deliberately distorted, as opposed to misunderstood and thereby misreported.

Yet one affix angle I can verify is the commercial pressure of domain names. Sole traders and franchises alike are morphing their names to secure unique spaces online, adding -shop or -site to their identities, -tech or -zone, all in a bid to divert clicks. Even films demand their own remake to own a cyber-patch, becoming TenetTheMovie, or WatchNomadland.

To parse this modern syntax, you’ll need a link-whisperer, as that’s a job now: proof of this decade’s more virulent extensions. Googling the global commentariat I met whisperers attached to pigeons, pitchers and blueberries, while fashionista and prominent Tik-Tok-nik Caitlin Brax has been hailed by hipdom as the Denim Whisperer of Dallas.

Nationals senator Matt Canavan may well be aware of preference whisperers, the Queenslander showing a flair for multi-affixing. On a recent Q+A, Canavan labelled the Intergovernmental (a classic affix grab-bag) Report into Climate Change as an exercise in fear-porn, another dominant affix of our day. Though whether Canavan’s response amounts to mis- or disinformation, only he will know.

Porn as appendage has been a big mover in the affix field.

The Macquarie brags a dozen offshoots, with merely a smattering bound to the blue stuff. As the Canavan quote demonstrates, the porn-plus formation alludes to exploitation.

Property porn Kiwi-style: an offering from Grand Designs New Zealand.

Every season, MasterChef dabbles in food-porn as Grand Designs peddles in property porn. Ruin-porn (also known as abandon porn) is the guilty allure of decrepitude, akin to poverty porn, as seen in SlumdogMillionaireFilm.

Ruin-porn (also known as abandon porn) is the guilty allure of decrepitude, akin to poverty porn, as seen in SlumdogMillionaireFilm.

Though a sleeper in the suffix realm, indeed the asphyxia of Affixia, has to be -fatigue. This is hardly a shock, given the current onslaught of presser-thons and covidiot maskgates, the gabfest of jabfest and the adhocracy of Gladystopia.

Battle fatigue began the rot during World War II, the cumulative strain of warriors in fatigues, inspiring the variants of pilot- and driver-fatigue. Since then, exhaustion has imbued every aspect of our lives, including the hazy recall of a childhood cat’s name, otherwise known as password fatigue. (Or was scraGGy21 the magic combo for my library account?)

Decision fatigue (torn between vaccines, or Scandi-noir titles) is a common symptom of data-fatigue, a rising affliction of the whole infodemic. Compassion fatigue also answers to donor fatigue, or disaster fatigue, the shame we try to hide when we sense the giving has to give.

Cultural designers strive to disrupt museum fatigue as keenly as preference-whisperers aim to dispel voter-fatigue. Unquestionably, as half this nation languishes in lockdown ennui, this rampant new annex owns a full pyjama range of potential, as this whole messy blurathon mutates into one omni-staycation-geddon.

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