I used to think I was poor. Then they told me I wasn’t poor, I was needy. Then they told me it was self-defeating to think of myself as needy. I was deprived. (Oh not deprived but rather underprivileged.) Then they told me that underprivileged was overused. I was disadvantaged. I still don’t have a dime. But I have a great vocabulary.

– Jules Feiffer

Roger Cohen’s New York Times Op-Ed piece on Greece’s fiscal fiasco, published yesterday, is worthy reading if only for introducing me to a new, perhaps era-defining, term. While I’ll admit that the word doesn’t have quite the effluence or verbal flourish or catchall potential or ease of pronunciation of other words deployed in various class-wars of the past to describe the people getting fucked (see proletariat, for instance), it does have a certain ring to it, the specific qualification of which I’m not entirely certain:

I’ve never seen Europe in such dire straits. Greece is full of the aganaktismenoi, or the outraged, who resent the sharp cuts and sales of state industries made necessary because there is no drachma to devalue in order to regain competitiveness.

Like protesters in Spain, they feel the poor and unemployed are paying for the errors of politicians, the evasions of the rich, and the whole globalized system that rewards the tech-savvy initiated while punishing those left behind.

Of course, categorizing is always problematic. History seems replete with one side (the fuckers) inventing names to describe the other (the fucked), and vice versa (from bon sauvage to robber baron; from welfare queen to yuppie); but I don’t frequently come across words or terms that go past the merely nominative and attempt to describe what the nominal group is actually feeling. This would require some empathy on the part of those creating the name. With that said, I wonder which side came up with “outraged” – the fuckers, the fucked, or (here’s a party I didn’t consider) the cognoscenti.

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