Moving Pictures
Sep 08, 2009, 08:09AM

The Michigan Daily: Proud Home of Philistines

And by philistines, I mean people who don't know what the word philistine means (hint: it's not someone who can't change the oil in their car). 

Obscenely bad writing/editing/discussion after the jump.

There’s a scene in Noah Baumbach’s brilliant “The Squid and the Whale” where the proudly cultured but socially inept father (Jeff Daniels) calls his rebellious son a “philistine.” He spits out the word — which refers to a person with hostility or indifference toward culture — and intends it to be an insult. But to the kid, who rejects the haughty, pretentious world of intellectuals his father inhabits, it’s a compliment. He wants to be a philistine.

  • I don't know about "obscenely bad." Boring and bland, perhaps. And perhaps a better position for a critic would be "Here is why more sophisticated movies and books should be important to you" rather than "It's totally fine if you aren't interested in movies and books." People who aren't interested in movies and books already know this and are not sitting around thinking, "gee, I wish that an adequate newspaper critic would tell me it's OK not to have seen Citizen Kane."

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  • * Main Entry: Phi·lis·tine * Pronunciation: \?fi-l?-?st?n; f?-?lis-t?n, -?t?n; ?fi-l?-st?n\ * Function: noun * Date: 14th century 1 : a native or inhabitant of ancient Philistia 2 often not capitalized a : a person who is guided by materialism and is usually disdainful of intellectual or artistic values b : one uninformed in a special area of knowledge so, actually, if i don't know anything about cars, that makes me a philistine. about cars. dictionaries are wonderful things, my friend. though i do agree about the horrendous editing.

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  • Nice try... "person deficient in liberal culture," 1827, originally in Carlyle, popularized by him and Matthew Arnold, from Ger. Philister "enemy of God's word," lit. "Philistine," inhabitants of a Biblical land, neighbors (and enemies) of Israel (see Philistine). Popularized in Ger. student slang (supposedly first in Jena, late 17c.) as a contemptuous term for "townies," and hence, by extension, "any uncultured person." Philistine had been used in a humorous fig. sense of "the enemy" in Eng. from c.1600. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Philistine

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