Welcome to the first-ever issue of 'Cant'. I'll be your host this evening. Please be sure your mind is in an upright and locked position.
'Cant' is defined by Webster's as "an angular deviation from a vertical or horizontal plane or surface; an inclination or a slope." And that's what this site is all about, providing inclination and slope. Er, wait. God damn it, someone gave me the wrong definition.
'Cant' is defined by Webster's as "The special vocabulary peculiar to the members of an underworld group; argot." And, although "argot" sounds way too much like a large, furry rodent, that's what this site is about. Providing the special vocabulary peculiar to the members of an underworld group. Given that the columnists are all at least destined to be the members of an underworld group (a very hot underworld group, if you take my meaning), I think that that definition suits just fine.
Even better is "To use pretentious language, barbarous jargon, or technical terms; to talk with an affectation of learning." That damn near hits the nail on the head, for we have no intentions of avoiding discourse on any topic due to such feeble excuses as a lack of information, a, shall we say, uninformed viewpoint, or even total ignorance. And further, we shall freqeuently strive to speak authoritatively on such subjects, dazzling you, the reader, with such technical terms as "Cat 5 cable" and "argot." So the "pretentious language" definition is one that I think I'll stick with.
Of course, there are lots of other definitons for 'Cant' which work almost as well, given appropriate use of the same linguistic crowbar. "Having the slant of a bevel" is probably something that our output can be characterized as; "A segment forming a side piece in the head of a cask" typefies our importance in the great barrel of literature; "A call for bidders at a public sale; an auction" is, ah, er, well, you get my point. It all fits. Perfectly.
That's my favorite part of semantics. With enough mental hammering, any square meaning can be placed into any round phrase. Sure, most of us simply use that ability to make crude sexual innuendo ("Honey, could pick up some shampoo at the store?" "I've got some shampoo for you *right here*, baby!"), but it's actually a practice dating back millenia. The masters of free-associative language, of course, are the philosophers. Spend enough time talking to any of them, and you will find that pretty much everything you say has been redefined to support their conjectures. "I like squirrels." "You must, for it is how your mind synthesizes your need to exercise power with your need to view yourself as a good person." "If you say so."
Frankly, I've often wanted to be a philosopher, for they apparently spend all their "working" time in a state of mild inebriation. Normal people only tend to think about the duality of man or the ultimate nature of God when slightly soused - philosophers pretty much live like that. Or, maybe they come up with their ideas when soused, but lack the critical "what was I thinking?" gene that prevents other people from subsequently publishing their ideas.
Plato: "Yes, another Guinness. Alright, here's what I was thinking.
See how this thing I am sitting on is a chair? What makes it a chair? I mean,
look at the chair that guy over there is hitting that other guy with. It's also
a chair, but it's very different than this one. For instance, it's broken. But
they are both chairs. Where was I?"
Plato: "Oh, yeah. So I'm thinking, somewhere, maybe in a cave in Macedonia or something, there is, like, one perfect chair, and every chair that we know is just a reflection of it. And chair-ness is defined, see, by being like that perfect chair, the chair we all really think of when we picture a chair. All chairs are really just images of that one perfect chair."
Nietzche: "Yes. The Uber-chair."
Socrates: "Guys, my beer tastes fu-*urk*"