Thursday, October 8


Posted by Shelly Holder

As this week is, unfortunately, mid-terms week for my school, I have been diligently studying, and not minding the blog as I should have (although, my priorities seem to lie with the blog... in thought AND deed.) In my readings (and re-readings, and triple readings) I came across a delightfully delicious word: charivari.

In context the sentence said "Some fights, among the most successful kind, are crowned by a final charivari, a sort of unrestrained fantasia where the rules, the laws of the genre, the referee's censuring and the limits of the ring are abolished, swept away by a triumphant disorder which overflows into the hall and carries off pell-mell wrestlers, seconds, referee and spectators." (cultural theorist Roland Barthes)

Doesn't the exploding fantasia and spice of charivari just envelop you with phrases like "unrestrained freedom" and "triumphant disorder"? The dictionary definition is not nearly so evocative, because it rests upon an old French tradition instead of a mood.

cha-ri-va-ri [ˌʃɑːrɪˈvɑːrɪ], shivaree esp US, chivaree n

1. a discordant mock serenade to newlyweds, made with pans, kettles, etc.
2. a confused noise; din

I also looked it up in my dictionary of etymology, but no luck there. It wasn't even included.

But the Barthes interpretation of the word is so delicious! Indeed, my first thought after I read the quote was "Can I change my blog title to this?" Someone else has probably done it before me, but I still like the concept. A lot.

I would like to think that my writing aspires to the nature of charivari, to the unrestrained fantasia of disregarded rules, a beautiful sort of literary irreverence. I know that at this point, I'm too traditionally bound. I'm still mastering the conventions, so that one day I can break them all.

However, I have decided that if I ever open up a coffee shop, I'm calling it charivari.

Right Now:
What I'm listening to: Some group of students talking -loudly- right outside my room.
What I want most: food! om nom nom