Thursday, March 30, 2006

looking for an answer

So, the word dejour is "dystopian" as in society. I am reading it everywhere now. I get that it has a negative connotation and even looked it up for specifics. But the dictionary says "faulty placement of an organ or part." So what is the colloquial meaning? And why do you think it's so popular now. I'd ask William Safire but I'd rather hear from you smart readers.

6 comments:

Christine said...

i'm going to say it has something to do with our dysfunctional society. One that values instant gratification more than long-term efforts or solutions.

AnneD said...

I agree with Christine. It's the opposite of "utopian" but with a cause (societal dysfunction) built in. Or maybe it means "causing societal dysfunction." Something like that!

susan said...

i sense that but the original meaning is so specific that somehow it is interesting that it's become more descriptive...but you two are the smart ones!

Marc said...

Courtesy of Wikipedia...
A dystopia (alternatively, cacotopia[1], kakotopia or anti-utopia) is a fictional society that is usually seen as the antithesis of a utopia.
A dystopia is usually characterized by an authoritarian or totalitarian, or some other kind of oppressive social control
The first use of the word has been credited to John Stuart Mill in 1868[2], whose knowledge of Greek would suggest that he meant it as a place where things are bad, rather than simply the opposite of Utopia. The Greek prefix 'dys'/'dis' signifies 'ill','bad' or 'abnormal', whereas 'ou' means 'not' (Utopia means 'nowhere', and is a pun on 'Eutopia' meaning 'happy place' - the prefix 'eu' means 'well'). So 'dystopia' and 'utopia' are not exact opposites in the sense that dysphoria and euphoria are opposites. A dystopia (alternatively, cacotopia[1], kakotopia or anti-utopia) is a fictional society that is usually seen as the antithesis of a utopia.
A dystopia is usually characterized by an authoritarian or totalitarian form of government, or some other kind of oppressive social control.
The first use of the word has been credited to John Stuart Mill in 1868[2], whose knowledge of Greek would suggest that he meant it as a place where things are bad, rather than simply the opposite of Utopia. The Greek prefix 'dys'/'dis' signifies 'ill','bad' or 'abnormal', whereas 'ou' means 'not' (Utopia means 'nowhere', and is a pun on 'Eutopia' meaning 'happy place' - the prefix 'eu' means 'well'). So 'dystopia' and 'utopia' are not exact opposites in the sense that dysphoria and euphoria are opposites.

susan said...

aha! thanks marc...that explains it perfectly. i should try Wikipedia. ss

Jrose said...

or simply it's means "Bush's America"! :)