Tuesday, September 13, 2011

intransigent



intransigent [ɪnˈtrænsɪdʒənt] n.

1.) Refusing to moderate a position, especially an extreme position; uncompromising (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).

Etymology: French intransigeant, from Spanish intransigente: in-, not (from Latin) + transigente, present participle of transigir, to compromise (from Latin transigere, to come to an agreement: trans-, + agere, to drive).

"Suppose someone had said to me, ten years ago, in Scarsdale, or on the commuter train, suppose the person had been my next-door neighbor, Rex Metalman, the corporate accountant with the unbelievable undulating daughter, suppose this was back in the days before his lawn mania took truly serious hold and his nightly paramilitary sentry-duty with the illuminated riding mower and the weekly planeloads of DDT dropping from the sky in search of perhaps one sod webworm nest and his complete intransigence in the face of the reasonable and in the beginning polite requests of one or even all of the neighbors that hostilities against the range of potential lawn enemies that obsessed him be toned down, at least in scale, before all this drove a wedge the size of a bag of Scott’s into our tennis friendship, suppose Rex Metalman had speculated in my presence, then, that ten years later, which is to say now, I, Rick Vigorous, would be living in Cleveland, Ohio, between a biologically dead and completely offensive-smelling lake and a billion-dollar man-made desert, that I would be divorced from my wife and physically distanced from the growth of my son, that I would be operating a firm in partnership with an invisible person, little more, it seems clear now, than a corporate entity interested in failure for tax purposes, the firm publishing things perhaps even slightly more laughable than nothing at all, and that perched high atop this mountain of the unthinkable would be the fact that I was in love, grossly and pathetically and fiercely and completely in love with a person eighteen count them eighteen years younger than I, a woman from one of Cleveland’s first families, who lives in a city owned by her father but who works answering telephones for something like four dollars an hour, a woman whose uniform of white cotton dress and black Converse hightop sneakers is an unanalyzable and troubling constant, who takes somewhere, I suspect, between five and eight showers a day, who works in neurosis like a whaler in scrimshaw, who lives with a schizophrenically narcissistic bird and an almost certainly nymphomaniacal bitch of a roommate, and who finds in me, somewhere, who knows where, the complete lover…suppose all this were said to me by Rex Metalman, leaning conversationally with his flamethrower over the fence between our properties as I stood with a rake in my hand, suppose Rex had said all this to me, then I almost certainly would have replied that the likelihood of all that was roughly equal to the probability of young Vance Vigorous, then eight and at eight in certain respects already more of a man than I, that young Vance, even as we stood there to be seen kicking a football up into the cold autumn sky and down through a window, his laughter echoing forever off the closed colored suburban trees, of strapping Vance’s eventually turning out to be a…a homosexual, or something equally unlikely or preposterous or totally out of the question" (The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace, 1987).

(Timon d'Athènes, Thomas Couture, ~1857)
____________________________________________________

Credit to Bibi for bringing this word to my attention. And sorry about the long quote. I wanted to finish the sentence!

15 comments:

Bibi said...

Thanks for the mention!
While reading it, I was thinking: "when will you finally place a dot?!" Not really an English thing to do, long sentences. It's something you'd rather expect from German or French texts.

Jazz bazooka said...

so it's like when Gandalf stood on the brigde and shouted "you shall not pass" was his intransigent ?

DEZMOND said...

I wish my bosses weren't so intransigent on the raise of my salary :(

Debra She Who Seeks said...

That is the most awesome run-on sentence I have ever seen.

Zombie said...

Lol @ Jazz bazooka! :P

Melanie said...

i can use this today i think!

D4 said...

That sentence gives me some really terrible ideas for what to use on this weeks climbing the mountain challenge. I probably won't though.

Viitoebe said...

hahaha @Jazz bazooka owned.
I guess he's right. hahahha

neatfit said...

This blog is something I'm looking forward to, thank-you for these posts :)

Wolle said...

In German it is "unbeugsam"

AllenTesch said...

I use this from time to time, when I want to mix things up a little.

Shutterbug said...

Sounds like a word people would use in American politics!

JayJay said...

I agree with @Debra She Who Seeks - brilliant run on sentence.

shari said...

....and.... breathe!! I thought that *I* created long sentences! Sheesh.

I am intransigent regarding the recycling of recyclable refuse. I will even carry crap home with me just so that I can make sure it gets recycled. If I'm not careful, I will end up one of those truculent cart-pushing, Converse-wearing "bag ladies" with all the recyclables (and her worldly belongings) in it... mumbling to herself about the wastefulness of most human beings.

Henry said...

Well now there's another apt word for todays news.

Post a Comment