Friday, April 17, 2009

what rocks? (
(a truly black-belt website)
why it rocks: sick of twiddling your thumbs while waiting for an online dictionary's definition to load? good news: twiddle no longer. now, you can use those nifty thumbs for more ambitious endeavors like hitchhiking, evaluating movies and being generally opposable. is an online dictionary conceived to follow the three core attributes of ninja-ing: 1) they are smart 2) they are accurate 3) they are really fast.

why else it rocks: in addition to the overall flashgordonness of the dictionary, there are two features that might pique your unique-bone: a random word generator that defines words you didn't even know you want to know and a running history that keeps tabs on everything you've looked up thus far. both are handy and add the the fun, nonchalant nature of the website. upon re-reading my previous sentence (as often I do to gain semantic momentum) it becomes clear to me that "nonchalance" is what ultimately makes this site particularly enticing. there is a general conceit that dictionaries must be uptight, rigid and proper in order to serve as a valid parlance resource. but why is this, really? when did stuffiness become a pre-requisite for knowledge? there's probably an answer out there, but whether my question stands as rheoritical or not, it's high-time to annoint is a new sheriff in town, a sheriff who can answer your word inquiries with superb speed and also superb nonchalance.

seriously, what's the deal with it rocking: the big selling point of the website certainly has to be the mental image that inevitably comes with each definition. whether i look up "gargoyle" or "hegemony" or "sartorial" i simply can't help but imagine a wildeyed ninja nimbly jumping down from his hiding spot on the ceiling, leaning into me and then whispering the desired definition into my ear. i will admit, though, that it slightly amazes me how over the past decade americans have recultivated both an ironic and sincere passion for ninjas. don't get me wrong, i have no ill-will towards those stealthy, well-costumed, sometimes knife-wielding shadows of the night. but ninjas, almost by definition, are non-american icons (except for american ninja michael dudikoff). in fact, back in the day, americans craved their very own ninjas and consequently "cultivated" the cultural lore and iconography of the cowboy. basically they did what hanukah did in response to christmas. regardless, ninjas are supposed to belong to the east and cowboys to the west. it surprises me that in an era of protectionism, buyamericanism and rememberthe80sism, we are still appopriating icons from other continents. It's almost unacceptable, is it not? So what I propose is that we ditch this ninja fetish and gallop into a semi-ironic, semi-sincere era of cowboy appreciation. a john wayne revivial of sorts. and don't worry, we can still keep the pirate-worship in tact.

1 comment:

  1. This ninja words website is really great. But seriously, I think in any ninja could kill any cowboy in any brawl.