Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections\f7

More Words for Phobias

January 25, 1987

My compliments to the chef-d'oeuvre of Paul Hellwig, whose "Insomniac's Dictionary" may turn insomnia into a growth industry--and my compliments also to Dave Larsen for his delightfully crafted article about Hellwig's amusing and informative masterpiece ("Insomniac's Guide to World of Strange Words," Jan. 7).

For the sequel that seems a certainty, I suggest an addition to the section of 555 phobias: the word Russophobia . We need a word to depict our exaggerated and often distorted perception of a nation we need not like but have to live with. The Soviets may always remain an adversary, but common sense makes it evident that they and we have a common interest in the struggle against a common enemy--the growing danger of nuclear war. Common sense is the antidote we need for the sociopolitical malady that should be named Russophobia.

My second suggestion is technophilia , a fondness for technological gadgets that borders on reverence and sometimes causes us to behave as though we expect that one day soon Murphy's Law (If anything can go wrong, it will) can be repealed. The growing danger of nuclear catastrophe to which I have referred stems largely from the growing number of thermonuclear gadgets (hydrogen bombs) that are subject to Murphy's Law. So if Mr. Hellwig can popularize the word technophilia he will be performing a high public service.

Finally, a word of gratitude for teaching me the meaning of kakistocracy (government by the worst citizens). When one contrasts the capability of our country's founding fathers with our so-called leaders from both political parties during the past several decades, one can be forgiven for thinking of an inverted plumbing system. And since democracy guarantees only that its citizens get what they deserve, developing a daily acquaintanceship with the word kakistocracy may help us do a better job of election/selection in the future than we've done in the past.

HAROLD WILLENS

Los Angeles

Willens is a Los Angeles businessman active in the nuclear - freeze movement.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|