Thursday, December 06, 2007

Holiday blending

The "December dilemma" is pretty famous by now and it's in the news this morning. For those of us who don't practice any organized religion, it seems like there are two approaches to this time of year. There's the kind of unitarian approach — celebrate them all. (I heard someone who surely has no connection at all to Jewishness wish another such person Happy Chanukkah a couple of days ago.) As a pretty fundamentally secular person, I tend to ignore them all, save for some gift giving.

The former trend, I suppose, is embodied in some famous holiday blending. Maybe the case at hand is more of superblending, actually: Chrismahanukwanzakah, aka Chrismahanakwanzaka, Chrismahanakwanza, Chrismahanakwanzika. That seems like a limited set of options for the morphological and orthographic hurdles we're clearing here, yet if you type chrismahannukwanzakuh into google, you get
Did you mean: chrismahanukwanzakah
Yeah, exactly, that's what I meant. If you don't recall the term's history, it's originally from a commercial, Virgin Mobile from a few years ago. A quick overview is at wikipedia, here, but the real goodies, including the ads, can be seen here. It's only been mentioned a couple of times in passing on the Log, I think, where Ben Zimmer rightly noted (in a post about the short-lived holiday Abramoffukkah):
If there's such a thing as an overdetermined neologism, this is certainly an example of one.
The latter trend is only slightly less commercially defined, Festivus from Seinfeld (see here, for example). A few years ago, Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle famously bought a festivus pole (here) and a big manufacturer of them is in Milwaukee (here). OK, you're thinking, no blending here. Well, festivus is presumably a pseudo-Latin neologism, but Doyle is adept at blending, although it takes us off-topic: Wisconsin's governor has the broadest budget veto powers in the nation, so that they can strike through any parts of the budget basically. Doyle has used that creatively, slicing out parts of sentences in the budget and creating entirely new sentences with those cuts. (Don't have a good example at hand, but they exist.)

But back to our topic: Chrismahanukwanzakah is hardly the only superblend around. More on that later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, that site has some pretty well-known people posing with their Festivus poles...very cool! And bravo to the governor for having a sense of humor. It really appears that Festivus is gaining traction as a holiday, all these years after Seinfeld went off the air. You can get cool Festivus stuff, even cards to send instead of Christmas cards. For the rest of us!