Douglas Coupland Book Neo-logisms
Underdosing: (page 7)
To live in
a period of time when nothing seems to happen. Major symptoms
include addiction to newspapers, magazines and TV news broadcasts.
Envy: (page 144)
of jealousy generated by the young and the disenfranchised when
faced with gruesome housing statistics.
Party: (page 143)
tradition; baby showers to which both men and women friends are
invited as opposed to only women. Doubled purchasing power of
bisexual attendance brings gift values up to Eisenhower-era standards.
Minimalism: (page 75)
frequently offered interior design aesthetic used by rootless
career-hopping young people.
Irony: (page 150)
to make flippant ironic comments as a reflexive matter of course
in everyday conversation.
Nostalgia: (page 41)
a body of people to have memories that do not actually possess:
"How can I be a part of the 1960s generation when I don't
even remember any of it?"
whereby one reconciles oneself with diminishing expectations of
material wealth: "I've given up wanting to make a killing
or be a bigshot. I just want to find happiness and maybe open
up a little roadside cafe in Idaho."
low-prestige, low-dignity, low-benefit, no-future job in the service
sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people
who have never held one.
by an individual, in the absence of training or traditional religious
tenets, to formulate a personally tailored religion by himself.
Most frequently a mishmash of reincarnation, personal dialogue
with a nebulously defined god figure, naturalism, and karmic eye-for-eye
Ground Zero: (page 63)
where one visualizes oneself during the dropping of the atomic
bomb; frequently, a shopping mall.
to perceive metaphor.
Breakdown: (page 27)
of mental collapse occurring in one's twenties, often caused by
an inability to function outside of school or structured environments
coupled with a realization of one's aloneness in the world. Often
marks the induction into the ritual of pharmaceutical usage.
Hairsplitting: (page 85)
The act of
classifying music and musicians into pathologically picayune categories:
"The Vienna Franks are a good example of urban white acid
folk revivalism crossed with ska."
Aping: (page 172)
to be a native when visiting a foreign destination.
Denial: (page 41)
To tell oneself
that the only time worth living in is the past and that the only
time that may ever be interesting again is the future.
Slumming: (page 120)
enjoyment stems not from flavor but from a complex mixture of
class connotations, nostalgia signals, and packaging semiotics:
"Katie and I bought this tub of Multi-Whip instead of real
whip cream because thought petroleum d istillate whip topping
seemed like the sort of food that air force wives stationed in
Pensacola back in the early sixties would feed their husband to
celebrate a career promotion."
of peppering daily life with obscure references (forgotten films,
dead TV stars, unpopular book, defunct countries, etc.) as a subliminal
means of showcasing one's education and one's wish to disassociate
from the world of mass culture.
Slumming: (page 113)
job beneath one's skills or education level as a means of retreat
from adult responsibilities and/or avoiding possible failure in
one's true occupation.
of advertising, packaging, and entertainment jargon from earlier
eras in everyday speech for ironic and/or comic effect: "Kathleen's
Favorite dead Celebrity party was tons o' fun" or "Dave
really think s of himself as a zany, nutty, wacky, and madcap
guy, doesn't he?"
Paralysis: (page 139)
when given unlimited choices, to make none.
for fears about the future by plunging headlong into a job or
life-style seemingly unrelated to one's previous interests; i.e.,
Amway sales, aerobics, the Republican Party, a career in law,
of one's job to live up to one's self-image.
Rabies: (page 127)
Tabu: (page 74)
A small rule
for living, bordering on superstition, that allows one to cope
with everyday life in the absence of cultural or religious dictums.
Tithe: (page 143)
A price paid
for becoming a couple; previously amusing human beings become
boring: "Thanks for inviting us, but Noreen and I are going
to look at flatware catalogs tonight. Afterward we're going to
watch the travel channel."
Shadow: (page 62)
friendship with a member of the opposite sex.
Buoyancy: (page 82)
The realization that one was a better person when one had less
derived from not having medical insurance.
Jet Set: (page 6)
A group of
people given to chronic traveling at the expense of long-term
job stability or a permanent residence. Tend to have doomed and
extremely expensive phone call relationships with people names
Serge or Ilyana. Tend to discuss frequent-flyer programs at parties.
paranoia instilled in offspring by depression-era parents.
Mist: (page 25)
of hierarchies in office environments to be diffuse and preclude
Slice the Pie: (page 137)
in which an offspring mentally tallies up the net worth of his
drag. "Jamie got stuck in the Rome airport for thirty-six
hours and it was, like, QFD."
mistake. "It was really QFM. I mean, painter pants? That's
1979 beyond belief."
Postponement: (page 106)
in one's youth to avoid traditionally youthful activities and
artistic experiences in order to obtain serious career goals.
Sometimes results in the mourning for lost youth at about age
thirty, followed by silly haircuts and joke- inducing wardrobes.
Slumming: (page 113)
of participating in recreational activities of a class one perceives
as lower than one's own: "Karen! Donald! Let's go bowling
tonight! An don't worry about shoes... apparently you can rent
job to take another that pays less but places one back on the
Net-ism: (page 34)
that there will always be a financial and emotional safety net
to buffer life's hurts. Usually parents.
of younger workers to leave or avoid jobs in unhealthy office
environments or workplaces affected by Sick Building Syndrome.
with extreme situations.
common X generation subgroup and the only subgroup given to breeding.
Squires exist almost exclusively in couples and are recognizable
by their frantic attempts to recreate a semblance of Eisenhower-era
plenitude and their daily lives in the face of exorbitant housing
prices and two-job life-styles. Squires tend to be continually
exhausted from voraciously acquisitive pursuit of furniture and
inflicted upon young people by old people who see no irony in
their gestures. Karen died a thousand deaths as her father made
a big show of tasting a recently manufactured bottle of wine before
allowing it to be poured as the family sat in Steak Hut.
Substitution: (page 54)
object with intellectual or fashionable cachet to substitute for
an object that is merely pricey: "Brian, you left your copy
of Camus in your brother's BMW."
Reproduction: (page 135)
to make up for the fact that one no longer believes in the future.
that if one is successful, then one's personal needs will be forgotten
and one will no longer have one's childish needs catered to.
to visualize oneself enjoying being the last person on earth.
"I'd take a helicopter up and throw microwave ovens down
on the Taco Bell."
in everyday life that derive from TV sitcom plots: "That's
just like the episode where Jan lost her glasses."
Wanderlust: (page 171)
common to people of transient middle-class upbringings. Unable
to feel rooted in any one environment, the move continually in
hopes of finding an idealized sense of community in the next location.
Short Term Nostalgia: (page 96)
for the extremely recent past: "God, things seemed so much
better in the world last week."
to almost invariably side with the underdog in a given situation.
The consumer expression of the this trait is the purchasing of
less successful, "sad," or failing products: "I
know these Vienna franks are heart failure in a stick, but they
were so sad looking up against all the other yuppie food items
that I just had to buy them."
Time Travel: (page 11)
about traveling backward in time, but only with proper vaccinations.
Pen: (page 20)
office workstations built of fabric-covered disassemblable wall
partitions and inhabited by junior staff members. Named for the
pre-slaughter cubicles used by the cattle industry.
Runway: (page 172)
destination chosen in the hopes that no one else has ever chosen
Block: (page 80)
however futile, to register dissent with the current political
system by simply not voting.
Wannabe's: (page 91)
An X generation
subgroup that believes the myth of a yuppie life-style being both
satisfying and viable. Tend to be high in debt, involved in some
form of substance abuse, and show a willingness to talk about
Armageddon after three dr inks.