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TWEE

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TWEE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:23 pm

• twee •


Pronunciation: twee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Overly nice, sugary, precious (in the sarcastic sense), mawkish.

Notes: Today we offer a nod to our British cousins, for today's Good Word will be known to almost all them. It will probably come as a surprise to readers in the US, and that may surprise Britons.

In Play: Today's term means "sweet" sarcastically: "The Eaton Inn was so nauseatingly twee with its plastic flowers, perky waitresses, and elevator music." Attitudes may be twee, too: "Candy Cain is so twee when she shares her 18th century views at the dinner table."

Word History: Today's Good Word started out as tweet, baby-talk for sweet. Then it lost its final T to become what it is today. All this took place at the beginning of the 20th century. Before that, all we had was sweet, which has cousins in many other Germanic languages: German süss, Danish sød, and Swedish söt. That is it we see in Latin borrowings persuade and dissuade via a sense on the order of "sweet-talk". The D dropped out later in Latin giving the Romans suavis "sweet, pleasant", which English borrowed, via French, as suave. (Now let's all thank Mark Bailey for suggesting a long series of Good Words that are not at all twee.)
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Re: TWEE

Postby MTC » Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:27 pm

I think of Thomas Kinkade's paintings as "twee." Extended viewing not recommended for those with an intolerance to sugar.
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Re: TWEE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:56 pm

As well a lot of 'religious art' with the Christ looking
like a doll.
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Re: TWEE

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:08 pm

I suppose one person's sugar rush is another person's inspiration. I like Thomas Kinkade's paintings. He might not have been great, but he was good. I think he was trying to achieve the effects accomplished by two earlier famous artists. One was John Constable, the painter of "light" and my favorite artist, and the other a 19th century American naturalist who did very well at idealized scenery. I can't remember his name. If we tar Kinkade with the twee brush, what are we going to do with Norman Rockwell, the great painter of Americana whose style certainly lacked sophistication? Dare we even mention Grandma Moses?

As per Luke's observations, I quite agree that much of what tries to pass as Christian art is really bad. It is too bad even to be twee. But we have The Pietà, the frescoed ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's David, the Praying Hands by Dürer, and the Gleaners by Millet (it seems to have a spiritual theme to me). While "Jesus Knocking at the Door" by Vicente Roso might not be great art or even good theology, it has given inspiration to many people. I think much Christian art can stand on its own two feet and not be labeled twee.

As for the word "twee", I cannot imagine my using it in any context, but thanks to the Good Doctor for bringing it to our attention.
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Re: TWEE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:36 pm

I remember using the word "twee," but I don't know for what. To me it implies something overdone to impress. On Kincade, I really like his other set of paintings better than the "light" ones. They are more impressionistic, perhaps in the style of Monet. Religious art is like any other, some good, some lousy. In the middle ages when people couldn't read, art was used to illustrate Bible stories. Much "realistic" art I see in churches serves much the same purpose for children. The great ones like Michaelangelo could doodle on a napkin, and we'd frame it. But I definitely have seen lots of the twee Luke is talking about.
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Re: TWEE

Postby MTC » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:20 am

In reply to Philip, is the Americam landscape painter whom you were referring to one of the following "Luminists?"

Robert Salmon (1775 – ca. 1845)
Fitz Henry Lane (1804 – 1865)
George Caleb Bingham (1811 – 1879)
John Frederick Kensett (1816 – 1872)
James Augustus Suydam (1819 – 1865)
Martin Johnson Heade (1819 – 1904)
Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823 – 1880)
Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823 – 1900)
Frederic Edwin Church (1826 – 1900)
David Johnson (1827 – 1908)
Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902)
Edmund Darch Lewis (1835 – 1910)

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminism_( ... _art_style))

Constable's serene, idealized landscapes cannot fairly be compared to Kincade's confectionery vision. Rockwell also plunged into the syrup vat, but did emerge long enough to paint The Problem We All Live With. Grandma Moses' bold, fresh, and unique folk art was displayed (and may still be) at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. It's hard to envision Kinkade's work hanging there anytime soon.

Many great paintings have religious subjects, take The Last Supper for instance, or any number of Rembrandts. No problem there. It's trite, kitschy, and commercial work that I object to, the "Velvet Elvis" in art. Some call it "twee." But then as you aptly say, "One man's sugar rush is another man's inspiration." May I borrow that ?
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Re: TWEE

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:57 am

Thanks for the prompts, MTC, but I was thinking about the Hudson River School of artists. Perhaps I mislead you into looking at American Luminists. In particular, I think Kincade was trying to imitate Asher Brown Durand. See his wilderness painting “Kindred Spirits”. Durad and Constable, an English Romantic artist who perhaps inspired the American Luminists, are superior to Kincade. Da Vinci is superior to Norman Rockwell, but I can still admire Rockwell. In the same way, I like Kincade. In the same way, I like honky-tonk music, jazz, Händell, Gregorian Chants and etc. I just can’t call serious work of any kind tweet. Kitsch is also not in my personal vocabulary. Elvis was a talented musician. Velvet Elvis pictures are horrid, perhaps disgusting, but certainly not tweet.
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Re: TWEE

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:59 am

My bad. Twee, not tweet.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: TWEE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:26 pm

Phillip, you are definitely very eclectic. I wish I was more so.
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Re: TWEE

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:19 pm

I am eclectic in all the arts. Not so much in politics and religion. I don't discuss politics on this forum, and I am careful when I discuss religion.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: TWEE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:20 am

Most people stay away from religion and politics on almost
all sites that I am aware of.
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