Offriending and Apatheism

I’m into portmanteau words at the moment: the word ‘sharpeggio’ came to me at about 5 am and I just had to write it down.  I don’t know how it applies to today’s post – or if it does – but we’ll see.  You know how I said the other day how poems have intentions separate from yours?  Well, I think blog posts have intentions too.  Sometimes I start a post without an idea of what I’m going to say but several words work themselves in – and although they seem irrelevant, by the time I’ve finished I can see what they’re doing there: why (in the words of Pooh) they ‘wanted to come in.’

And in the same way, several portmanteau words ‘came in’ after sharpeggios.  One was offriend: a word which I think perfectly sums up the frequent occurrence on Facebook of a friend taking offence at something you’ve said which seems to you perfectly innocuous.  Vide yesterday’s post.

Then Mark came up with apatheism.  This was one of those serendipitous moments; he didn’t know I’d been thinking of portmanteau words but this one inserted itself into his field of vision.  The word is defined as ‘indifference to other people’s religion’:

combining as it does the words ‘apathy’ and ‘theism’ – and also, as OH pointed out, ‘atheism.’  We disagreed about the pronunciation, too: I think it ought to be ap-atheism but he favours apay-theism which plays  up the atheist angle.  What do you think?

Anyway, to return to ‘offriending’.  Facebook, as many people have spotted, has its own vocabulary, relative to offline lexicon but tangential to it: sort of at right angles, as it were.  So instead of ‘dislike’ we have ‘unlike’: and a totally new word ‘unfriend’ has entered the lexicon as well as my personal favourite, ‘unfollow.’  I quite like most of these words and I would humbly wish to propose ‘offriended’ as an alternative to ‘unfriend’ and her harsher cousin, ‘block’.  (Incidentally have you seen the brilliant ‘Black Mirror’ episode where blocking someone means that even in real life they can’t see you and you can’t see them?)

Terrific stuff.)  So if you hit the ‘offriend’ button it means that something in the conversation has hit a bum note for you and rather than get into an argument about it you are ‘unfollowing’ the post.  Of course you could just unfollow the post without telling anyone, but where’s the fun in that?

Anyway, what do you think?  Could it catch on?  Would it stop more pointless arguments like the two I mentioned yesterday, both of which I unfollowed?

Oh, and on an unrelated note, can people PLEASE stop saying ‘disinterested’ instead of ‘uninterested’?  It means ‘detached, without any investment in a particular outcome.’  It is NOT cognate with bored!!!

Kirk out


2 thoughts on “Offriending and Apatheism

  1. In the virtual world that is Second Life when you block someone they turn into a red cloud… I’m imagining real people walking around like that now 😀

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