nexial facetiae

…and Kentlee followed up with a pointer to John Gall‘s The Systems Bible, which deals with Systemantics. It first appeared in 1975, was updated in 1986, and expanded in a third edition in 2012. I grabbed it on the Kindle and started reading, flipping between parody and an exposé of some of the fallacies and limitations of “systems thinking” as practised (and buzzworded) in the early 1970s. Delightful reading, a flavor of which can be sampled via Taylor Pearson, and from Drafty Manor. Gall was an acute observer and had a sharp eye for hypocrises, things hidden in plain sight, and the Emperor’s Clothes.

I happened to look at the book’s cataloging information and found that one of its Library of Congress subject descriptors is

System Theory – anecdotes, facetiae, satire, etc.

Facetiae, eh? Here are some of the dictionary entries for that one:

treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor
flippant
joking or jesting, often inappropriately
a joke with a little drop of sarcasm
intentionally unserious
making humorous remarks or saying things they do not mean in a situation where they ought to be serious
characterized by levity of attitude and love of joking
dark humor
playfully jocular
waggish
cutting, witty, often sarcastic remarks
a sarcastic and sardonic comment, more sneering and meaner
not meant to be taken seriously or literally
joking in terms of pretending something is true,
while knowing that it is false

Hmmmm, I thought, how guilty am I of pretty much all of those? How many of the books on my shelves partake of the facetious and the parodic? Edward Gorey? Terry Pratchett? Archy and Mehitabel? The Good Soldier Svejk? The Big Lebowski? Sandman? uh oh…

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