Wednesday, July 13, 2011

atavism



atavism [ˈætəˌvɪzəm] n.

1.) The reappearance of a characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence, usually caused by the chance recombination of genes.
2.) An individual or a part that exhibits atavism. Also called "throwback".
3.) The return of a trait or recurrence of previous behavior after a period of absence (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).

Etymology: French atavisme, from Latin atavus, ancestor: atta, father + avus, grandfather.

"Anyway, hence the atavistic shark fetish, which I need to admit came back with a long-repressed vengeance on this Luxury Cruise, and that I made such a fuss about the one (possible) dorsal fin I saw off starboard that my companions at supper's Table 64 finally had to tell me, with all possible tact, to shut up about the fin already" ("A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again", David Foster Wallace, 1995).

(Atavism at Twilight, Salvador Dalí, 1934)
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Anyone seen The Tree of Life yet? I saw it last night and I haven't made up my mind about it yet. It did take me back to my childhood in a way that no film ever has, there were some amazing shots of space and Earth, a few moments when the score really worked, and Brad Pitt gave a good performance. It probably could have been a great movie if he had just edited out the annoying and pretentious voice-overs and shot the thing without all the shaky, hand-held camera-work and wide-angle-lens nonsense.

22 comments:

D4 said...

Why no, I haven't seen it. I don't feel like it now either. Woo.

Jenny Woolf said...

YOu do find wonderful quotes and pictures to illustrate the words you use.

DEZMOND said...

nice word.
And there were tones of people leaving THE TREE OF LIFE projections at the half of the film. The film is overly pompous.

Bart said...

clever witch craftery

shari said...

Haven't seen it yet. I might still give it a shot. I'm more excited about Harry Potter!!! (Scream!) Talk about an atavistic hysteria... every time one more HP movie comes out, I regress to a teenager. I read the books several times each, and love reliving them through the movies.... I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait....

BTW, yes, you're the one who has me using 69 cent words in my blog posts now.

Ala Mode 7 said...

Oooh, nice Dali painting! It kind of looks like a max ernst painting though. The color palette and everything...

RaShelle said...

Haven't seen the movie. Love the word: atavism. I could write a whole story based on that word.

Zombie said...

I always love the paintings! :D

Henry said...

Have not seen it.

Devour said...

Awesome word I didnt know about it "). Cool paintings.

Mai Yang said...

sounds unique..
What about the tree of life? Gotta check that one out..

dwizzt said...

I heard that it's a good film. I hope it will be shown sooner here.

Nice word of the day.

JayJay said...

Interesting new word. (Well, new to me.)

On a different note, I hadn't even heard of the film until you mentioned it. Hmm, don't know if it is one I shall see in the theatre.

P.S. I am writing this from my laptop in New Zealand. I hope it shows up. :)

jos xx said...

no haven't seen the movie yet. i don't like Brad Pitt, so I usually skip his movies...

jos xx

Drake Sigar said...

I'd never heard of that movie till now, the critical reception has been fantastic.

A Beer for the Shower said...

I'm not much of a shaky-handed film camera fan myself. Haven't seen the movie yet, though I do like Brad Pitt. By the way, nice new avatar. You look much happier.

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

Would I be bragging if I say that my awesomeness is a form of atavism?

Melanie said...

I love this word. A lot.

Shaw said...

I keep hearing mixed things about Tree of Life.

Mr. Cactus said...

I just like saying this word it rolls off the tongue.

Jessica Thompson said...

Good word!

MRanthrope said...

I just wrote a review for Tree of Life and should be posting it sometime this weekend (hopefully). Overall I liked it, but yeah, Malick totally went overboard in some regards.

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