A while back, I introduced the Vodkasphere to one of my favorite writers, New Orleans columnist Chris Rose. Prior to Katrina, Chris’s work was usually focused on humorous slice-of-life pieces, always echoing the weird, chaotic joys and worries of his hometown. These days… well, these days, like a lot of other people in NOLA, he’s pissed.
I sometimes talk to septuagenarian women on the phone — that’s one of my job responsibilities; don’t ask — and I find the language I hear both shocking and, I have to admit, very entertaining. Maybe even uplifting.
Inspiring would be too strong a word for it.
I have used some of these words in this column space in recent months, vocabularic liberties my editors would probably not have allowed back before The Thing.
This linguistic phenomenon was best described to me by Greg Meffert, the chief technology officer for the mayor’s office and a man with no proficiency whatsoever in language studies but who, nevertheless, has developed a social paradigm that exhibits a keen understanding of human behavior.
Particularly New Orleans human behavior.
The Meffert Theory, as told to me, is thus: “If you were circumspect before Katrina, now you are candid. If you were candid, now you are frank. If you were frank, now you are blunt. And if you were blunt, now you are an asshole.”
After softening you up with that rueful laugh, Chris gets out the knife. I won’t spoil the last section for you here; go read the whole thing.