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It's May Talking Meme! Ask a question, get an answer! Today's answer is for lolmac: "Now I'm wondering what it would actually mean for someone to be interes. For the 10th, make something up that sounds plausible. ;)"

In the LJ tag that inspired this question, it means that I tried to type the word "interested" and got cut off by a character limit. In Spanish, with an accent on the e, it just means “interest.” But what does it mean in Colloquial May Memeish?

Let's say that during a brief 19th-century vogue for pseudo-medievalism in the theatre, Andrew McCreight's New Gothic Players used “inter-res,” a spurious Latin coinage allegedly meaning “between action,” to denote short comedy sketches in between the acts of a nouveau-Gothic miracle play. After the inevitable New Gothic parodies appeared in mainstream theatre, the word spread throughout performance culture and into the music halls, where it was adopted as a term of art meaning "in-between sketches." or "light entertainment" "Interes" was first adjectivized in 1861 on a poster advertising Harry Horstwell's Jumping Jiminy Company as providing “The Most Tearful of Farewells, The Most Daring of Escapes, The Most Inter-res of Inter-reys!”

Accepted meaning of interes in theatre circles shifted by rapid Hipster Irony Drift from a term of relatively uncomplicated (and therefore uncouth) approval meaning "fun, lighthearted, refreshing" through snobbish sarcasm to "grim, dismal, horrifying" by hyperbole to "boring, tedious," and to "tacky, outre, excessive" and back, by late 1905, to a term of specialized approval meaning, "thought outre only by those not in the know, mistakenly denounced by those lacking the sensibility to appreciate its hilarious and eccentric greatness.” Meanwhile, it retained a stabler, but less prestigious meaning close to the original, roughly, "funny, fast-paced, and not too serious." However, by the 1930s the latter (once more common) meaning had all but disappeared.

For a brief period at the beginning of the twentieth century, interes and interey (with other alternate spellings) took on a flavor of the avant-garde. The Intereys was a social fraternity founded in 1911 that had a brief bohemian flourishing before and during the War and gave its name to a short-lived arts journal, Intereysme. Unfortunately, interes' cool did not survive long, and in the thirties and forties was strongly associated with try-hardiness, incoherence, and unpopular styles of sculpture if it was used at all. It was largely ignored during the Jazz Age revival of the seventies, but later nostalgists have given it a little more attention thanks to a critical edition of Intereysme published in 1991 that earned the magazine a small but intense campus following and inspired a short-lived performance art piece.

In 1995, a slender study of the Intereysme circle called Inter-rest: Queering the Writing Body enjoyed a brief but intense vogue in humanities departments in the US and Canada. The author, Abigail Kovak, employed a large number of variations on interes, including in-teres, inter(c)es, (in)ter(r)es, and inter-res(t), as well as interes itself, which Professor Kovak defines in her Introduction as “the liminality intrinsic to an eroticism of difference,” and in Chapter Eight as “the ambiguous inv(a)ision we have endeavored, perhaps hopelessly, to de-ambiguate.” Professor Kovak is now best known for calling Harold Bloom, among other things, a “blistering irrelevancy” and a “panting androfungus” during an "author meets critics" panel at the 1998 MLA convention.

Right now, it remains to be seen whether "interes" or its variants will see a revival in ordinary language or sink back into obscurity. The most recent uses of interes have been deliberate call-backs: Margot Hannerbeck's zine series of 1994-1997, a currently running Tumblr blog called interes-tour featuring old magazines and ephemera, the band Intereysmo (2002-2003), and the steampunk-tinted YA fantasy trilogy Interres: The Stand all trade on the image of a futurism long past.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 10th, 2015 08:30 am (UTC)
Haha OMG, you're brilliant :)
May. 11th, 2015 05:39 am (UTC)
Glad to amuse! :)
May. 11th, 2015 12:07 am (UTC)
This is incredibly perfect!
May. 11th, 2015 05:41 am (UTC)
I'm glad you think so! I love made-up words and The Nineties, so it was a fun question to get.
May. 11th, 2015 03:59 am (UTC)
I am boggled. I am at a loss for words (although I may fill the gap by making up a few new ones)!
May. 11th, 2015 05:38 am (UTC)
Make 'em all up; fake etymology is my favorite etymology <3
May. 11th, 2015 07:17 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is pretty amazing!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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