Saturday, August 05, 2006

Deedle-Deedle queep

The portland dwellers amongst you may remember making fun of me for using the phrase "deedle-deedle queep" in casual conversation, but no longer. After I said it, we had one of those moments like in The West Wing episode Mandatory Minimums:

My point is... we have to make it through the week without making any mistakes.

We will.

I'm saying that this is...

I'm saying calm down.

I'm perfectly calm.

You're not calm, Leo. You're acting like a nervous hooleelia.

Everyone looks at Sam.

A what?

It may not be a word. It may just be something my mother used to say.

I insisted that it meant "nonsense". And it turns out that I was right and that the source is one most of us should have known: VALIS. Here's the passage, from p.133 of the Vintage edition (you can do an "inside the book" search on Amazon if you want to independently confirm):

If Kevin were here he'd say, "Deedle-deedle queep," which is what he says to Fat when Fat reads aloud from his exegesis. Kevin has no use for the Profound. He's right. All I am doing is going, "Deedle-deedle queep" over and over again in my attempts to understand how Horselover Fat is going to heal -- save -- Horselover Fat.

So, while the charge of being forgetful may still hold (thankfully there's an internet for that), I still insist that I am not, you know, actually crazy.


Blogger Will said...

Sorry to have found a way, despite the odds, to remain contrarian here Greg, but I thought I vindicated you on this a while ago! I remember the moment, about two years ago, when you first said "deedle deedle queep" and Cary and I looked at you like you were bonkers, but then only about six or nine months later I reread VALIS, noticed it, mouth agape, and MUST HAVE mentioned it to you. I swore I mentioned it to you.

Who cares. The point is, you were right. Good to have the citation on file for future reference.

1:41 AM  
Blogger Cary said...

And I have found a different way to be contrarian. While this may depend on larger questions as to what constitutes "wordness" the fact that a nonsense phrase you used appears as a nonsense phrase in a book, it does not, in fact, follow that this nonsense phrase is a word. Though more extreme, this would be like my saying the word "Sdrip" is a word in the normal sense of things because it appears in Finnegans Wake. To use a different "wordness" metric, I will point out that a google search for "deedle deedle queep" yields 35 results, the top hit being this very post. Cute sounding, but not a word.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Will -- I did have a vague memory of your having mentioned something about this when I found the VALIS reference. Like I said in the post, the charge of forgetfulness usually holds against me pretty well.

Cary -- While I definitely agree that deedle-deedle queep is definitely a neologism I think it still qualifies as a word. Hey, it's got at least two real world usage examples going for it: mine and a post on a forum about Wicca and Satanism which doesn't even mention its Dick-ian origin:

Plus it seems to have something of a life in PK Dick Fan Fic:

And there's this Castaneda Google Group discussion about sweat lodges that again doesn't mention the Dick connection:

From an OED perspective (or at least some Wikipedian equivalent thereof) that's definitely enough usage to get a clear definition.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

Clearly, none of you truly cared about resolving this matter. As the West Coast's foremost authority on nonsense, I should have been consulted post haste. Greg? Your deedle-deedle queeping days are over. License revoked! Cary? Your authority to rule in matters of "wordness" has been down graded. You may now comment only on constructions consisting of 12 characters or less. I have spoken. So shall it be.

2:34 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home