Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oxymoronic Ruminations

Today I wanted to take the time to honor one of my favorite linguistic gems: the oxymoron.  Seriously, I think I love the oxymoron as much as I do because of the name.  How could anything sound as awesome as this?  It almost sounds like an insult you'd sling at someone who cuts you off in rush hour traffic.  "Hey, use your turn signal you oxymoron!"  Or maybe my love of paradoxes in general (my favorite paradox being Schrodinger's Cat) has something to do with it.

For those who may not know, an oxymoron occurs when two seemingly contradictory terms are combined.  Civil War is perhaps one of my favorite examples as the presence of these two words together seems particularly ludicrous.  Unfortunately, it isn't technically an oxymoron.  The word "civil" in this context means that the war is occurring between people of the same nation and is not implying that people are standing around and saying nice things to one another while carrying heavy artillery.  Still, I delight in seeing it as an oxymoron because, while I acknowledge war is at times necessary, I hope it's one of those nasty things that we'll eventually outgrow as a species.  I mean, seriously, if we spent half the time exploring the galaxy as we did trying to kill each other, we'd really be somewhere by now.  Good grief!

Wow.  Can I ever stay on topic?  My rant took up half my post!

I recommend that you watch this video to help you appreciate the beauty of the oxymoron.  Yes, this guy would rip into my comments regarding my Civil War example, but everyone should know this information all the same.


  1. I love the oxymoron too! I always call myself an oxymoron - for many reasons. I'm a combination of contradictory terms. Great, funny post!

  2. Fun post. You're right, just the word alone is filled with funness (I make up words).