10 Mar 2010

One of those "I should really go to bed" posts

Another gem of a Wikipedia daily article popped up in my inbox just now; The Superb Fairywren.

Not only is this a spectacular name for a bird, but it is also a spectacularly dull looking bird with such an exotic name.

The word "superb" is defined as;

admirably fine or excellent; extremely good: a superb performance.
sumptuous; rich; grand: superb jewels.
of a proudly imposing appearance or kind; majestic: superb mountain vistas.

Personally, I am struggling to find anything majestic or imposing about this blue and white bird, other than the blue referred to in the article. Given that is is also indicated to be "sedentary", I would imagine the latter adjectival definition is not the chose one.

So is it the first definition of the what is nearly a superlative description of a small and inactive bird? If so, I imagine it is largely a projection of fancy on the "peculiar behavioural characteristics" cited by Wiki, in paticular the social monogamy combined with sexual promiscuity. [Is this, perhaps the ultimate definition of the society in Brave New World in itself?!].

It is, of course, most likely point two is why this abjective is assigned to the bird, by over enthusiastic "twitchers" about the blue plummage. However, it does somewhat lack the brilliance of the common Kingfisher

It seems there is only one bird enthusiast who completes articles on Wiki, or at least on Australian birds, given the similar language for the definitions of Fairywren et al.

Although I was amused to see there is also a "Splendid Fairywren", of which I have no criticism, as it is rather splendid to look at.

However, I can think of other, miscellaneous uses for the term "Superb fairywren", from a rip-off washing up liquid to a fancy dress shop. Suggestions?

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