04 September 2006

Meet my new pet peeve

I can no longer sit quietly by while everyone everywhere describes countless journeys as Quixotic.

From Merriam-Webster.com:
Main Entry: quix·ot·ic
Pronunciation: kwik-'sä-tik
Function: adjective
Etymology: Don Quixote
1 : foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals; especially : marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action
For starters, I don't think that the definition is broad enough to describe all journeys made by all heroes in all of the written word, but you'd think so from reading book reviews and wikipedia (the most reliable of all sources).

On the other hand, if you do broaden the definition, we all have quixotic journeys through life. It's all impractical or meaningless sometimes, and what is life if it's not lived with gusto, through the pursuit of one's ideals? Even lives of quiet desperation can have their quixotic moments (mid-life crises, anyone?). And let's not all forget just how depressing the novel of Don Quixote can be, for a moment, depending on how you read it.

To me, it's not that the word quixotic isn't usually applicable. In fact, like the word unique, quixotic is quite often an apt word. That's what makes it so frustrating.

So let's lay off on the word quixotic for a while, okay New York Times? New Yorker? Wiki-folk? Please.

I'm just not willing to accept that the journey a nine-year old boy makes through the grief of losing his father to the September 11th attacks is quixotic. Especially when the novel is so beautifully and eloquently described in the following paragraphs.

No comments: