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Pseuds' Corner

Posted by TheFallen on May 24, 2003

In Reply to: Wachowskian posted by ESC on May 23, 2003

: : : I was reading a New Yorker article about the movie "Matrix" and kept running into words I didn't know. (Maybe I should stick to People magazine.) I think I've figured out the first two, but can't find anything on the third word.

: : : A Critic at Large, "The Unreal Thing: What's wrong with the Matrix?" New Yorker, May 19, 2003:

: : : EXTASE -- "Shortly after its mostly unheralded release, in 1999, 'The Matrix' became an egghead 'extase.'." (a feeling of immense joy; rapture. Dutch: extase (de). )

: : : BALLETIC -- "The spectacle has by now become part of the common language of action movies: the amazing 'balletic' fight scenes and the slow-motion aerial display of destruction." Couldn't find "balletic" in the dictionary but I'm guessing it's relating to ballet.

: : : WACHOWSKIAN -- "The (Philip K.) Dick scholar Erik Davis points out that, in a sequel to 'Valis,' Dick even used the term 'matrix' in something like a Wachowskian context."

: : The Wachowski brothers made the movies. They have a certain style.
: : a la Faustian.

: Thanks. I'm so out of the loop. I saw "Matrix," at the insistence of my kids. But I didn't know who made it.

Extase - it's a fairly depressing trend among those who desperately wish to seem intellectual to pepper their prose with French words or sayings. "Extase" in the example quoted above is typical of this - it's simply the French for "ecstasy". (It's also German for ecstasy too, but it'll be the French pronunciation that our reviewer is aiming for. Hardly le mot juste, but sophistiqué, n'est-ce pas?

Balletic - nothing wrong with this one. The following from the Amer. Her. Dict:


1. A classical dance form characterized by grace and precision of movement and by elaborate formal gestures, steps, and poses.
2. A theatrical presentation of group or solo dancing to a musical accompaniment, usually with costume and scenic effects, conveying a story or theme.
3. A musical composition written or used for this dance form.
4. A company or group that performs ballet.
ETYMOLOGY: French, from Italian balletto, diminutive of ballo, dance, from ballare, to dance. See ballerina.


Wachowskian - As described by Bruce above. Since The Matrix series of movies seems bound to be hugely commercially successful (part 3 of the trilogy will hit the screens in November this year), I'm sure that many an imitation will be created. Presumably, this will then throw our New Yorker reviewer into a state of balletic extase, because he'll be able to describe these derivations as Wachowskiesque.