Wednesday, January 28, 2004

OK, So Why This Reaction to the Word 'Velour,' People?

First of all, I don't know much about the word, or (ahem) how to spell it, apparently. But now my laserbeam of curiosity has been drawn to it. I have to know why all these negative semantics have been glued to the hapless word 'velour.'

Yes, it is a cheap knock-off of velvet. But so is velveteen, and you don't see people screwing up their faces when you say you've bought a velveteen leisure suit, now do you?

Just because I'm 46 work days away from a date with my green comfy chair and a navy blue velour leisure suit doesn't mean I'm going to turn into Archie Bunker.

(An aside: you want to know what Google spit up as one of the top-seeded hits for the search "archie bunker" + velour? "Jesus?: The Only 2000 Year Old Whore", a lovely little page by

I notice that "velour leisure suit" is noted as a "funky trend" by a seller on eBay. It is a trend being accessorized by some of the most tasteful designers in the biz, too. Check out this hat, described by its creator-- "No leisure suit would be complete without this soft and funky lid."

So maybe it's not the word "velour" that sets people's teeth on edge. Maybe it's the combination of the cognitively-dissonant words "leisure" and "suit." Velour just tops it off, like the word "secret" in the phrase "secret army intelligence."

Speaking of army intelligence, I can't believe the genius that is Jon Stewart (of the Daily Show on Comedy Central). Last night he had Richard Pearle, a Gulf War II apologist (author of "How to Win the War on Terror"), on the show, and when he asked him if he thought we'd have gone to war even if we hadn't had faulty intelligence of WMD, Mr. Pearle said that we would have, since Hussein was operating in direct violation of UN directives. Jon LAUGHED OUT LOUD in HIS FACE. I have never seen him do that. Poor Pearle was so taken off guard that he started chuckling too, which was really creepy, like he was in on it that the excuse was a farce and wasn't it kind of funny. Jon laughed into the rhetorical question "*WHO* was in violation of UN directives? It's like saying we had to violate the UN's laws to protect it from the guy who violated its laws!" (my faulty memory's paraphrasing... but he said nearly exactly that) -- and then he started off in another direction of inquiry before the guy could get his footing. Wow, what a kung fu talk show moment. He had Richard Pearle KO'd in under four minutes. He stood and almost bolted off the set as soon as the music came up to end his interview.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a little giddy about Jon Stewart today: my girlfriend, who refers to Jon as "my boyfriend," last night just gave me a pillowcase with Jon's face (downloaded from the graphic on his Comedy Central website) ironed-on to it (thanks to some eBay wingnut who sells custom iron-ons). Then I dreamt that he had me over to he and his wife's house and we bonded over having happy childhoods. It was a good night all around, in other words.

Now for you other Jon Stewart fans, here's a Daily Show commentary blog-- it's a safe space just for you and me.