Friday, August 14, 2009
Idly - well, not idly, rather conscientiously in fact - researching words for abject human failures - FUBAR, SNAFU etc - I came across an old favourite, clusterfuck. I also discover a new - to me at least - variation - Mongolian clusterfuck. Apparently P.J. O'Rourke used it for a 'preplanned, wholly scripted news-free event' or 'press conference' as they are sometimes called. But it seems to be more commonly used for traffic jam-like situations where the chaos is such that all progress is utterly stalled. I am not sure there's a substantial, real world difference between a garden variety clusterfuck and the Mongolian form, but there is something about the word 'Mongolian'. It is both exotic and sinister and evokes the wholly incomprehensible. It certainly adds something to the concept of failure. Anyway, this is just to say that, this morning, 'Mongolian clusterfuck' seems to me to be the most perfect summation of human life.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:50 am