The Word Plastic

Every once in a while I meditate on the word plastic.

I always want to pronounce it the way the French do, plastique. This in turn brings up an image of some sort of gooey gel used to blow things up.

Plastic—malleable, easily formed—that was the original meaning of the word and somehow it has morphed into—rigid, unchanging. Of course, it’s both and those of us who are English speakers rely on the context to figure out which description fits.

I was looking at my four-year-old granddaughter’s Barbie doll the other day. If you didn’t know, Barbie has gone modest. She now has little molded briefs on her attenuated body. How demure.

She’s still plastic.

Somehow this musing brought me around to television these days; gooey, amorphous, rigid, unreal even in reality—plastic and totally false.