Sunday, July 25, 2010


Are you one of those Facebook quiz junkies? I am. My Facebook profile is littered with the "answers" to questions like: "Who were you in a past life?" "What 80's television show are you," "What color are you," and "In what soap opera would your relationship star?" I also know my Myers Brigg type and my enneagram type, just to be on the safe side. I know my sun sign, moon sign and ascendant sign.

I am relentless in my pursuit of silly, unimportant, self-knowledge.

This fascination with all things quizzes has been aided and abetted by Facebook, but certainly didn't start there. I'm not a Cosmo girl, but I DID take the Cosmo quizzes. Does anyone else remember the game played by little girls wherein you draw a square and pick four types of houses and write them on one side of the square, four numbers that are written on another side of the square, four boys' names, and four cities? Add a spiral drawn in the middle and a complex counting system and voila! Future predicted? Yeah, I played that game. A lot.

Which is why, when my friend Alicia Staley posted a Facebook link to the "I Write Like" writing style analytic website, I sat down, cut and pasted a blog entry into the machine, and was compared to Margaret Atwood with one keystroke. In two more keystrokes I had revealed yet another nuance of my personality on Twitter and Facebook.

I KNOW human beings like you and me, bored at home, are making up Facebook quizzes. I know that I fall nearly in the middle of nearly every personality test I've ever taken, and I'm cynical that one analytic of one blog post can definitively say my writing style is like that of any other author, poet or journalist.

It is this cynicism about self-reflective analytic tools that led me to create a new compound word today - cynalytic. It is an adjective meaning cynical about the pursuit of personal understanding and improvement through the use of quizzes on Facebook, in Cosmopolitan magazine, or other places in print and on the Internet. Pronounced 'sin-a-lit-ick' you might use it like this, "I'm a little cynalytic about my results in the latest New Yorker magazine quiz. Did you take it, the one that allegedly determines the perfect New York home for you? My results show my ideal Manhattan home would be in Ossining."

I've made up lots of words before, only to find someone else has invented them before me. This new one, cynalytic, is nowhere to be found on the Internet. While it may not ever make the top ten list of made up words, I think it is going to catch on.

1 comment:

Jeff Cutler said...

Go buy the domain name!