|A corny photo by G.Pozzi|
Adjective. Late Middle English.
[from CORN noun.]
1 Of beer: tasting strongly of malt. Long obsolete excluding dialect. LME
2 Of or pertaining to corn. L16
3 Producing corn; having much corn, as a crop or as grains. L16
4 Drunk, intoxicated. Compare with CORNED adj. dialectical. E19
5 Rustic, unsophisticated;
ridiculously or tiresomely old-fashioned or sentimental;
trite. colloquial. M20
corniness noun (colloquial) the quality of being corny (sense 5). M20
Why corn? I mean, specifically, why are we singling out this one cereal crop and attaching it in a pejorative adjective to things we consider banal, trite, and mawkishly sentimental? When we decry corny jokes, corny chat-up lines and corny films, why are we dragging maize of all things into the fray of our subjective assertions? And corniness is subjective, of course. A man going down on one knee to propose is the ultimate romantic gesture for some, yet chaff-chompingly corny for others. And then there are Facebook pages. Y'know the type:
"My husband is the love of my life and the life of my love. Please share if you agree."
Yes, that type. For some, they're sweetness and beauty and ... no, hang on ... this isn't subjective. This is the very essence of corn! This is concentrated corn, in all its (un)refined, ultra-processed gloop. Why, oh why ... oh why!? ... do thousands upon thousands upon thousands share this tat? If you really do love your husband, or wife, sister, cat, gerbil, goldfish, whatever, why not just tell them? Here's an idea: Why not get your face off Facebook, rub your bleary eyes, and actually have a go at forming an original thought for once? And anyway, is your beloved so cravenly fawning, so subserviently supine, as to be taken by such effortlessly unoriginal displays of affection? Does clicking share on Facebook really serve to validate the oh so deep love that you somehow can't bring yourself to express in your own words?
Umm ... where were we? Oh yes - why corn? Sorry. I must have needed to get that off my chest. The origin is 1930s American slang, in which corny ('of corn' or 'full of corn') meant 'appealing to country folk', country folk being, of course, rustic, unsophisticated and old-fashioned in the minds of many. It's easy to see how this meaning took hold - one can just imagine a bevy of country bumpkins arriving in New York fresh from the cornfields, attempting to impress these urbane socialites with their combine harvester jokes and root beer gags. Poor chaps. Would they be able to do anything that wasn't immediately decried as corny? Still, I bet they wouldn't have liked and shared stupid 'inspirational' Facebook pages. I mean, seriously! Is there anything more maddenly mawkish? More infuriatingly inane? Why are you sharing this tripe with us? Leave us out of it! We don't care! Oh for ...
|Please share if you've never expressed an original thought in your entire life|
What do you find to be unbearably corny?
Conversely, does corniness rock your combine?
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