Friday, January 11, 2013

Mad as a hatter...

"Mad as a Hatter" Drawing by Cameron Brewer


You're as mad as a hatter. In Wednesday night's American Horror, Monsignor Timothy uttered this famed phrase, making this Alice in Wonderland/American Horror aficionado a very happy girl. It's the little things in life.

As we all know, if you are on the receiving end of this phrase, the person calling you thus is implying that you are crazier than hell, off your rocker, not operating with a full deck - that you, in short, have lost a few marbles. The phrase is said to come from a variety of sources: the fact that hatters/milliners were often exposed to high levels of mercury in the manufacturing process (resulting in Mad Hatters), the verb "hatter" (which mean to harass or weary), or, as A Dictionary of Common Fallacies (1980) notes, the fact that, once upon a time, "'mad' meant 'venomous' and 'hatter' is a corruption of 'adder', or viper, so that the phrase 'mad as an atter' originally meant 'as venomous as a viper'."

My favorite Mad Hatter is, of course, this one.

No wonder Tom Petty decided to be the Mad Hatter in that crazy video. He looks just like him.
And he says things of this sort (which is why I love him so):
Mad Hatter: "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?
"Have you guessed the riddle yet?" the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
"No, I give it up," Alice replied. "What's the answer?"
"I haven't the slightest idea," said the Hatter.
By the by, today's word of the day in the OED (or the Oxford English Dictionary for all of you lucky people who move outside of academia) is "Pyschopomp": (Noun) "A mythical conductor or guide of souls to the place of the dead." The adverbial version of the term can be used thus: "1908: R. Brooke Let. 8 Jan. (1968) 121. 'I, Hermes-like, am coming to fetch you psychopompically to Hell.'" Pyschopompically. What an awesome word.  Enjoy your weekend!~Alice
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