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Compunction

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Compunction

Postby Slava » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:10 am

• compunction •


Pronunciation: kêm-pêngk-shên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Guilt, reservation, the sting of conscience, the source of our qualms.

Notes: The need for today's Good Word seems to be diminishing: rappers advocate immorality, radio and TV thrives on it, while business and political leaders seem to be losing their moral bearings. 'Tis a shame, too, for this word has a happy family of relatives: compunctious is the positive adjective and compunctionless, the negative. Both may be used adverbially by simply daubing on the suffix -ly.

In Play: It is respect for compunction that prevents us from behavior that makes us uncomfortable: "Ally Monie must have gotten a great settlement in her divorce: she now spends $400 a week on hairdos without any compunction." Compunction borders either side of the straight-and-narrow that we all try hard to follow: "Sturbridge felt no compunction including the gifts to his girlfriends in his travel expenses."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Old French componction, the legal heir of Latin compunctio(n) "puncture, prick of conscience". This noun came from the verb compungere "to prick, sting", made up of the prefix com-, used here as an intensive prefix, plus pungere "to prick, stick". The root of this word goes back to Proto-Indo-European peuk- or peug- with a Fickle N that comes and goes mysteriously, such as the one we saw recently in the ancestor of languor. Without the Fickle N we see in pungere, this root appears in Latin pugil "boxer", origin of English pugilist. (Without the least bit of compunction, indeed, without so much as a qualm, we generously thank Lee Blue for suggesting today's Good Word.)[/quote]
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Re: COMPUNCTION

Postby call_copse » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:21 am

'Rappers advocate immorality'?

I'll just point out this is comparable to saying Americans enjoy murder, especially killing pregnant women, like Sharon Tate. To lump everything from Gil Scott Heron's 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' to Public Enemy to MIA's 'Paper Planes' or whatever in with 'advocating immorality' seems remarkably crude at a minimum. There is plenty of such music that documents poverty, revels in outsider status (rebellion is fairly traditional among many youth subcultures) or is simply braggadocious but to say it is advocating immorality is demonstrating a flat refusal to understand.

Of course I would not expect denizens of this forum to enjoy the more aggressive stylings but you could at least be aware of the intricate, satirical wordscapes and keen political understanding displayed in much hip-hop.
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Re: COMPUNCTION

Postby MTC » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:58 am

call_copse wrote:'Rappers advocate immorality'?
...
Of course I would not expect denizens of this forum to enjoy the more aggressive stylings but you could at least be aware of the intricate, satirical wordscapes and keen political understanding displayed in much hip-hop.


When most white, middle-aged or older folks think of rap music they think of "Gangsta Rap" with its blatantly violent, nihilistic, anti-feminist message. To me Gangsta Rap is nothing more than a musical mugging, far from the "intricate, satirical wordscapes" you describe. (I love that phrase, by the way.) If you are correct, the rest of rap music has been tarred with the same ugly gangsta brush. There's more to it, you say. OK then, give us some examples on YouTube so we denizens can expand our musical and cultural horizons.
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Re: COMPUNCTION

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:16 pm

Yes, that would help. I've never heard good rap.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: COMPUNCTION

Postby gailr » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:28 pm

A popular, very mainstream example that popped into mind is Will Smith, whether recently on David Letterman, or for movie themes such as Men In Black and The Wild Wild West. Of course, he's still remembered for the theme he rapped to his first television show, Fresh Prince. <--- I watched that interview and enjoyed it very much.

I like Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, and Common; plenty of lyrics and videos to sample on the web.

You don't have to be famous, just one of many, many high school graduates.

For pop culture references, Epic Rap Battles of History are plentiful, satirical and amusing. Occasional NSFW words, but not immoral or violent, in my opinion. I'll leave it to call_copse for the best of 'proper' rap, but I will close with my personal favorite rap, from Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog (and I liked the inspiration for it, too).

Geoffroi Chaucer wrote:STRAIGHT OVTTA LONDOUN

Straight out of London: lunatike freke namede Geoff C,
From the covin callede “Kynges Affinitee.”
Men who confronte me, my dagger beth killynge them
Hange them on a hempe-rope lyk ther name was Tresilian-
Thou too, churl, an thou swyvst with me!
The marshalsea shal nede to detainen me
Off of youre culorum, thatte ys how ich am goinge outte:
For the drastye lollarde traytors, that ys showinge outte.
Gentils start to mumblen, they wolden rumblen,
Mix theme and cooke them in a brothe lyk oystren.
Goinge offe on a motherswyvere lyk that
With a gatte thatte ys poyntede at thyne erse
So relente and be beten:
Ther ys no knowyng, ich am so ferse forto fighten!
Here beth a ballade forto synge at morris
Wyth a romaunce like the rose so beloued of Guillaume Lorris.
Stressed-syllable poetiks ys my craft
Whanne ich haue the custoume house ylaft.
Thow and ich koulde goon pied-a-pied, yonge maye:
Ich breke statutz and hertes ech daye
Nay ech weeke, ech monthe, ech yere
Vntil th’exchequer shal put me yn the cleere
And ich shal purchasen sum goode launde in Kente.
Myn purchas shal be gretere than al my rente.
Yf ich checke thyn accountes best brynge me vino
For the labour doth chewen my brayne lyk Ugolino.
Yf my verse deliteth yow that ys my sole rewardoun
Ich kan nat rim, ram, ruf: ich am straight oute of Londoun!
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Re: COMPUNCTION

Postby call_copse » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:42 am

Fair enough. I'd point out that the deeper stuff is going to be pretty dense and hard to follow. Here's a couple of golden age examples that most would regard as relatively inoffensive:

De La Soul - The Magic Number:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0irL1M15DH8

Arrested Development - Everyday People:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc7TRcUGWgk

If you cannot find anything approaching musicality in those two examples then I concede defeat!

For more modern styles I really enjoy Aesop Rock:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEBGCOCxLgA

To have a hope of understanding this review this:
http://rapgenius.com/Aesop-rock-none-shall-pass-lyrics

Or Genius - B.I.B.L.E.:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKpIkOXgAmg
http://rapgenius.com/Gza-bible-basic-in ... rth-lyrics

For instance in just two lines in this track you have a reference to:
"Cesare Borgia is the son of Pope Alexander VI and his mistress.

The theory is that, because the people they were killing looked like Jesus, people weren’t too happy with the massacres of Jews and Muslims. Pope Alexander VI then ordered the destruction of all art depicting a Semitic Jesus and commissioned a number of paintings depicting a Caucasian Jesus. Cesare Borgia is said to be the model for these paintings."

Much hip-hop is story telling. You wouldn't suggest (for example) that Marlon Brando likes putting horses heads in people's beds or is immoral.

MIA - Paper Planes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewRjZoRtu0Y

I would guess you may listen to this and think 'gangster' or something but the song's about America's fear of immigrants (she is Sri Lankan). The song lyrics describe illegal ways of making money, but the video shows M.I.A. as a cashier selling sandwiches, a delivery girl, and worker in a shop. All legit jobs. So even though many Americans associate immigrants with the worst aspects of society (lethal poison for the system), the reality is that most legitimately work to make a living, and the economy couldn't run without them.
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Re: COMPUNCTION

Postby MTC » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:56 am

I enjoyed the rap, gailr. Just wadin' into the water right now. Some cool sounds, all right. Might even invest in some bling, bling a ding ding, a baseball cap, sweatshirt and shades. Time to get down, I ain't no uptown clown....Hey! It's catchy!

Whoa! call_copse just chimed in with enough hip-hop to keep me hoppin' till Christmas. Gotta bust some moves, now. Catch ya later.
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Re: COMPUNCTION

Postby gailr » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:44 pm

Years ago I prepared for a test on the "Old Testament" on which I expected to be asked to list the significant prophets. My mnemonic device was to create a (mental) rap, and no, I wouldn't inflict it on you if I did still remember it. It did help with the test.
:wink:
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Re: COMPUNCTION

Postby call_copse » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:42 am

BTW Lauryn Hill certainly created a classic album by any standards in Miseducation Gail. I was very sad to see someone like that incarcerated, as she is not exactly a gangster.

The only point I'd make here is that hip hop is many things. Look at the number of genres, from Nerdcore to Christian or whatever. The focus on drugs, alcohol and sex of the mainstream gangster side of things is one small facet. It does not particularly interest me but it is I imagine a reflection of urban concerns - as such I would not regard it as exactly advocating immorality, but reflecting the position that it is felt society has driven black America to live in. If you don't like to look in that particular mirror, perhaps it is not your fellow citizens you should be unhappy with, rather the system that has given rise to the situation.

If anyone would like to explain how rappers do advocate immorality (rather than hedonism, reportage etc) in any kind of meaningful way in a general sense I will be happy to engage them in debate.
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Re: COMPUNCTION

Postby gailr » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:20 pm

call_copse wrote: Much hip-hop is story telling.

Yes! And as with any other literary form, you can tell whatever story you like within its [rules]. I forgot about this old favorite when I was posting my earlier links; there's a lot to appreciate in the concepts, the vocabulary, and the wordplay.
Large Hadron Rap 8)
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Re: COMPUNCTION

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:13 pm

I LIKE that!
pl
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