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Friday, January 27, 2006

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T-Baby

Scott-

I stand by my defense of Alanis and her pronunciation of wunderkind. To me, Alanis is clearly playing around with this word -- both its sound and its meaning. Whatever happened to poetic license anyway?

If you read the lyrics you can see that the speaker in this song is Lucy. When she says "I am a wunderkind," "wunder" is pronounced as a cross between "wonder" and "wander," and both of those words fit nicely with the song's imagery. "Kind" is indeed pronounced like "generous and warm", but also like "type" or "species". As in, "What kind of person are you?"

Think about it. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a story about all kinds of creatures and people. Lucy is an inquisitive, dreamy type -- She is a wonder(ing) kind. She is also embarking on an imaginative journey -- She is a wander(ing) kind.

The hidden context that we listeners percieve is that Lucy is also very much a wunderkind in the traditional sense. But do you thinks she knows that? She is the speaker in this song. Why would she sing a song about what a great prodigy she is?

On top of all that, pronouncing it "vunder-keend" would just plain sound bad in this song. It would stick out like a sore thumb.

Here are the lyrics:

Oh, perilous place walk backwards toward you
Blink disbelieving eyes chilled to the bone
Most visibly brave no apprehended bloom
First to take this foot to virgin snow

I am magnet for all kinds of deeper wonderment
I am a wunderkind
And I live the envelope pushed far enough to believe this
I am a princess on the way to my throne
Destined to serve, destined to roam

Oh, ominous place spellbound and un-child-proofed
My least favorite shelter bear alone
Compatriots in face they’d cringe if I told you
Our best back pocket secret our bond full blown

And I am a magnet for all kinds of deeper wonderment
I am a wunderkind
And I am pioneer naïve enough to believe this
I am a princess on the way to my throne
Destined to seek, destined to know

Most beautiful place reborn and blown off roof
My view about face whether great will be done

And I am a magnet for all kinds of deeper wonderment
I am a wunderkind
I am a groundbreaker naïve enough to believe this
I am a princess on the way to my throne

And I am a magnet for all kinds of deeper wonderment
I am a wunderkind

I am a Joan of Arc and smart enough to believe this
I am a princess on the way to my throne
Destined to reign, destined to roam
Destined to reign, destined to roam

Scott

T-Baby—

You, my friend, are every artist’s dream: an intelligent, literate and passionate admirer seemingly willing to forgive any transgression, filing it under the all-encompassing notion of "artistic/poetic license." Would that I had fans like you. Even Top Management doesn’t let me get away with bupkis.

Okay, I originally wrote a very long, comprehensive and frankly astonishing response here but Top Management informed me I was just being a jerk—I think the actual term she used was "meanie." Given that I originally attacked your taste in guys she may have a point. On the other hand, we are talking about my brother, so I probably did too. Anyhoo, I shall cut to the chase:

In the end, I remain ever impressed by your dedicated, detailed and well-argued support of Alanis. But all snark and attempts at good humor aside, I quote you:

To me, Alanis is clearly playing around with this word

To me, she’s clearly not. She’s just mispronouncing a foreign word. There’s a long history of rockers making grammatical mistakes, from Paul McCartney to Axl Rose. Just think of this as being Alanis’s entrée into that rarified world. (Or, I guess, given her previous misadventures with "Ironic," her way of making sure she’s still one of them Top Dawgs.)

I really dig Alanis. But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a mispronounced word is just a mispronounced word. No matter how much you like the mispronouncer.

That’s my strategery and I’m stickin’ with it.

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