Friday, July 24, 2009

German word of the week: "Scheinheilig"

Meaning: "Sanctimonious."

However, the Latinate English term lacks the demotic cheek of the German, which literally means "apparently holy" - an image that is as beautifully evocative as it is blunt.

"Scheinheiligkeit" is the verbal equivalent of dazzle painting. It is a mirage of worthiness, displayed by the pseudo-virtuous user with the intention to blind the opponent (or others around) in order to gain a strategic advantage in a conflictual situation. This, as any victim of sanctimoniousness will know, is truly annoying, because it not only represents a particularly grating form of lying, but also suggests that the apparently holy person thinks that you (and others) are too stupid to notice.

I hate it when people give me the feeling that they think I'm stupid, I really do.

On that note, here are The Smiths:

And the Coen brothers:

Or The Wife, for that matter.

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