Posted by Bob on March 15, 2003
In Reply to: Culturally solvent posted by Lewis on March 14, 2003
: : : : : To keep you culturally solvent, Smart has rounded up a cornucopia of the best oddity-possessing museums in the world which can be visited both in person and online.
: : : : : To keep you culturally solvent,does it mean that to help you to view these 'cultural' things without costing you too much?
: : : : I've never heard the expression, but I am 99 percent sure it doesn't have to do with money. I am guessing that it means culturally knowledgeable. That you know what you need to know to function in a society.
: : : This from the American Heritage Dictionary:
: : : SOLVENT
: : ADJECTIVE:
: : : 1. Capable of meeting financial obligations.
: : : 2. Chemistry Capable of dissolving another substance.
: : : NOUN:
: : : 1. Chemistry a. A substance in which another substance is dissolved, forming a solution.
: : : b. A substance, usually a liquid, capable of dissolving another substance.
: : : 2. Something that solves or explains.
: : : None of which is much help. However, I've noticed solvent being used more and more often recently to mean knowledgeable, just as ESC says - I suppose it still means "being capable of fulfilling a demand", except for information, not payment.
: : The phrase "morally bankrupt" has been around for a long time, so why not "culturally solvent"--having resources in the area of culture?
: it's simply somebody being clever and making up an opposite of "culturally bankrupt" [as in "morally bankrupt"]. Once you start, you can get a wave of variations. It means to make sure that you have something "cultural" available.
There was a mildly controversial best-selling book a few years back, "Cultural Literarcy," that purported to list those 1500 facts, concepts, book titles, etc., that a "literate" person had to know, or at least recognize. It touched off a thousand debates, but the title phrase became part of the language. This new invention is perhaps an expression of things one should know to stay one step ahead of cultural bankruptcy.