ISMISM New concepts for the Nineties

No. 5: Listicism

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List, sb 1. obs Hearing; the sense of hearing. To have or give a list: to be attentive, keep silence [C10, Aelfric. But vide Gordievsky, below. See also to Fry, sb, to keep uncharacteristically silent, often in a foreign place].

2. sb, arch Art, craft, cunning [C10, Old English, obs but vide Emily's List below]

List, n 1. an item by item record of people or things, usually written one under another [C17, from French, compare Italian lista (strip, vide Football Association, bung list, below) and Old High German lsta border].

2. computer technol a linearly ordered data structure.

3. the act of careening, or leaning to one side [C17, origin unknown, vide Emily's, op cit].

A word of ancient provenance which took on new nuances in the Nineties thanks to the activities of those determined to regulate the behaviour of aberrant social groups, real or imaginary.

Thus, Gordievsky's List, a motley collection of figures from the Labour and trade union movement during the Cold War, compiled with the intent of selling memoirs and newspaper serialisations. Also, the Football Association bung list, some seven or eight soccer club managers to be investigated on suspicion of illegal payments. And Emily's List, a benison upon women candidates for the Labour Party (a political grouping espousing ideals of freedom and democracy) which excluded from its number those demanding the right to exercise the freedom of speech to suggest that the party's pro-abortion policy might violate the socialist principles of protecting the vulnerable and promoting the oppressed.

See also:

Lists, n the enclosed field of combat at a tournament. To enter the lists: to engage in conflict, controversy etc (vide Foot M, Jones J, Buckton R, Witherow J, etc, etc).

Listitis, n inflammation of the political tract.

Listeria, n a mental disorder characterised by emotional outbursts concerning the compilation of lists, susceptibility to auto-suggestion as to their significance (cf to be Witherowed).

Listerectomy, n surgical removal of the inflamed list; antonym arkechtomy, the transmogrification of an Ark into a List, vide Schindler and Spielberg.

Listless, adj disinclined to effort following listerectomy; lacking purpose owing to listory deprivation qv.

And hence:

Listicism, n 1. experience of a reality surpassing normal human experience, cf mysticism.

2. obscure or confused belief or thought ibid.

3. debased scheme of action in which the compilation of lists becomes a substitute for clear thinking or the exercise of moral responsibility.

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