PPFF #134: Occidentophilia

Good morning,

I feel obliged to, at least, mention the Rio Olympics. My personal favourite articles related to the Rio games are this  and this.

Moving on, my Monday began with a very short flash discussion of a popular author, Murakami and his slightly offbeat novel Sputnik Sweetheart. I happened to describe him (in a respectful way) occidentophilic; that’s a real word – I’ve checked, albeit not used in common parlance, it’s definitely English – almost French, a cognate of ‘occidentophilia’. Here’s a usage example:

In general, most would agree that Japan had an intense period of systematic westernisation led by the Meiji government, and adoption of western styles of living (sometimes to the point of occidentophilia) by its subjects in the mid- to late- 19th century and into early 20th century

Following my usual routine of digression, thus jumping ship to the topic of the common suffix ‘-philia’, I wondered about its antonym, thence googling ‘-phobia’ instead and came across this potentially incendiary counter-point with regard to Islamophobia, referred to as ‘occidentophobia’. Though topical, I have no intention of having myself sucked into the quicksand of those debates. So again instead, here’s the goulash of my pondering of the word ‘homophobia’.

Obviously it’s a contraction of ‘homosexual’ and ‘-phobia’ but I thought it was a little misleading, if the word is broken down literally; without knowing the hidden ‘-sexual’ part of ‘homosexual’ it would either refer to ‘fear of man’, as in ecce homo or homo erectus‘ (like misandry) or ‘fear of one (or the same)’ as opposed to ‘hetero’ (different) – for the sake of argument, let’s say I feared having the same old rubbish happen to me everyday, would that make me homo-phobic? See how misleading that is?).

If someone like my neighbour Mave (not his real name) feared homosexual persons, first, I suggest you perhaps slap him but I also suggest you describe him as having homo-eroto-phobia’ or ‘homo-sexo-phobia’.

(Admittedly this was verbal goulash – a shoddy, half-baked effort. But should you need it, find solace in the fact that we covered 5 obscure words today in four paragraphs. Besides this will make next week’s fact dazzle like the Northern Lights.)

Have a good Friday and go ‘philia’ whatever you fancy.