GARhetoric: [aː] and [r]

As I chatted with ghostlightning, this post was born. It is at least 13% his fault, and 87% my love for phonetics.

Bear witness to something which may be more GAR-exuding than the relative inactivity lets on:

you know the drill.

Now I could say a lot about how they reinforce their already probably incredibly huge egoes by repeating eachothers’ names (also positively establishing their respective identities against eachother in a discourse of power, to do a lolpseudolelangirism). Suffice to say, they aren’t doing any thing which is very rich in GAR quality, but… It’s still there. Hiding.

The proliferation of As are allusory to them being the First, the Best. A is first in the Latin alphabet, α in the Greek, and of course あ/ア in the kana syllabary. Interestingly, elder futhark began on f, despite being the writing system of some of the most stereotypically GAR badarses there ever was. One is forced to conclude that, indeed, the Germanic tribes were simply too busy burning Rome to do anything better with something as nerdy as ordering their letters, and the Vikings were too busy being Vikings for inventing a properly ordered alphabet themselves. Either that, or they prolonged their voiceless labiodental fricatives. Or in other words, FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

So, essentially, THEY ARE THE ALPHA. Note also that Yukimura roars O sufficiently, soI can pun about them being OMEGAR too (sorry, sorry, won’t do that again). That is more non-consequential since O does not have any particularly interesting position in the kana syllabary.

More seriously: Why is this GAR-like? What makes us feel such a tinge of GAR from… well, two men senselessly, a bit machomoerotically (sorry, sorry, won’t do that again) screaming eachothers’ names in their respective faces?

Let’s ponder animals. Why are roars so frightening? Well they are for two reasons (I am no biologist, so I may well be way off mark here):

  1. It alerts you to a danger. A lion roaring to get you to back off from its cubs is drawing your attention to it, and to the fact that it is here and it will kick your ass.
  2. Something which has the energy to spare to scream in your face is probably quite sure it can get you without using near all of its power. More complex sounds to create mean it is more in control. If Bob has the time to form KTRGRAAA (harsh, plosive consonants are often somewhat hard to form –  especially in conjunction – while vowels are easy, though heavy on air), then what could he do with that breath if he focused it on beating you up? There is a perhaps a simple reason M and N are quite rare in shouts and screams of some gar quality- they are neither hard to form nor expensive on oxygen.

GAR, being a weird mix of a newly constructed, social response, and primal adoration of the Alpha (fe)male of the pack, will likely draw power from this. Sounds carry meaning. And all of these, they say, “I am big. I am strong. I can waste my energy despite being in a supposedly perilous situation. And I am on your side.” Cue us falling over and becoming the proverbial crying girlchildren, in lack of less sexist words.

Look at this mix of cheese, memes and GAR:

Now what do they have in common except being seen as GAR? Well, SOUNDS. Nonsensical, they don’t carry much semantical weight at all. A lot of them. AND LOUD. It is all there. The harsh (plosive) consonants, the alveolar trill, the long vowels, specifically the [aː] . Selective sampling, you can prove anything with it, of course. But look what sounds can make GAR…

…Really now, you found even this a bit GAR didn’t you? At least I did, though I may be a major abberation. It might be because it is Wakamoto. And this produced by sounds.

A note on the alveolar trill – the rolling of the Rs – which signify them transcending traditional Japanese culture into something even higher – pure GAR. After all, rolling an R is quite un-Japanese to do. It is a skill beyond the par of many who are accustomed to their pansy version of the R. And an affluence of skill, well that is GAR.

There are no conclusions here, just silly ideas on the phonosemiotic qualities of GAR, which no one should take seriously.

extended postography

ghostlightning’s classic, groundbreaking study into the matter of GAR rhetoric is essential [->]

The Animanachronism’s papers on GAR have been quite a tone-setter in the debate, and lelangir has extended them [->]

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16 Comments

  1. Kaiserpingvin

     /  22 July 2009

    This is a bad post and you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Reply
  2. LOL @ classic, groundbreaking study.

    This is mad fun.

    I tried reading this post aloud in a norio wakamoto voice. It tired me out. GAR-inspiring characters ARE larger than life.

    Reply
    • Kaiserpingvin

       /  22 July 2009

      I tried imagining Wakamoto reading it, but all I got was that damned Deck from Ideon.

      Reply
  3. Pontifus

     /  22 July 2009

    I feel like you’re taking the examination of gar rhetoric to the next level here, both with the linguistic factors involved and the idea of an origin in “primal adoration of the Alpha (fe)male of the pack.” That latter point in particular makes me curious, possibly because I’m not at all equipped to draw conclusions about it myself. I wonder to what degree appreciation of gar can be traced (even hypothetically) to a simpler time, when large, loud men ruled the day.

    Reply
    • Kaiserpingvin

       /  22 July 2009

      I wonder too; I wrote nearly all of this post in total jest, but I do think GAR is, in the end, a weird metling-together of something very new and something very primal. Just like how moe is. And, of course, sound does have a GAR effect on itself – semantics seem to end up, well, in alittle shed by the side, sometimes taken out for a stroll but mostly ignored.

      But then we have, say, Akagi. He can GAR you down by a single, low syllable and the full weight of a thousand implications. So it is a very one-sided angle here.

      A friend of mine pointed out noises are pretty much always bad for you in nature. Thunderstorms, avalances, et al. As he said, “because nearly all creatures are afraid of noise and bright lights [...] or rather, those who approached noise, rather than fled, died quickly”. Might be worth looking into, we’ll need to recruit a biologist/become biologists, I think. The primal is ancient, by definition, after all.

      Reply
  4. Because I haven’t seen the anime in the first video, it seems like mundane badassery, rather than GAR. As IKnight has pointed out a long time ago, badassery is merely GAR without a purpose – GAR is the transcendence of badassery because it has some sort of purpose and significance. Two dudes screaming each other’s names doesn’t seem to have a purpose, especially since the video is not contextual at all. I mean, is Madarame saying “Sasahara! Sasahara! Mo…Iku yo!!!!!” GAR? I don’t think so.

    I do think GAR can be contained within morphemes. One striking example that comes to mind is [TTGL spoilers]:

    when Kitan kisses Yoko for the last time before he suicides, though it’s when he says arigatou yo that is extremely potent for me.

    Why is that moment GAR? Not being a fluent Nihonjin, however, I might say that the added yo really amplifies the effect. I can’t explain why, but it just sounds/feels/means coolness, ergo GAR.

    The same way, there’s one specific line that Merkatz says that’s so GAR. It’s after Yang encircles an enemy fleet and totally raeps it, and then the screen goes to Merkatz for a second and he says “well done”, but he says it in such a way that’s just ;_; MERKTAZZZZZZZZ

    Reply
    • The context of the clip is the education of the young warrior in the wisdom of battle, its ends and honorable means. I am GAR for the dude with the horns.

      Reply
    • Kaiserpingvin

       /  22 July 2009

      I don’t know what that video is, really, I am more interested in the stereotypically GAR elements which pop up – the sounds (on a whole, it’s just a highly memetic piece of silliness).

      I don’t think I agree on GAR being badarsery + purpose only (possibly prerequisite still). I’d rather say, it is alpha (fe)male badarsery. And an alpha protects and hunts. Perhaps a simplistic model, but it’s just a random idea.

      And yes, I agree GAR can be contained in morphemes (cf Akagi, again, and I’d agree with all your examples, to some degree – also, Vicious, “You shall cry crimson tears”, shhhhhhhhhhhh), here I just focus on the more, er, primal.

      Reply
  5. lelangir

     /  22 July 2009

    I had an idea. So insofar as GAR requires purpose, then the subject of GAR is not a character, it’s the ‘space’ between characters, more of a context. The character merely catalyzes GAR, but requires a specific context to generate the antecedent GAR feeling within the viewer.

    Reply
    • Yes, I talk about GAR-triggers, attributes and behaviors that inspire GAR feelings in viewers. The characters aren’t GAR per se, but rather feelings I have triggered by what they do in the context they’re in, can be called GAR (feelings).

      Reply
      • Kaiserpingvin

         /  22 July 2009

        That’s etymologically correct (GAR for Archer), but is it reflecting current usage?

        Has GAR, like moe, had a drift from the subject to the object? (also, language is clumsy like that, “Reuenthal is GAR” is more fluid than “Reuenthal made me feel GAR”. We’ll need a new directional form of adjectives so we can skip that extra pronoun!)

      • well, you can take the shortcut by saying Oskar is GAR to mean you feel GAR for him. I still resist relating to GAR as an attribute.

        However, one can argue that the Sengoku Basara characters, or at least Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune, are GARblobs.

    • Kaiserpingvin

       /  22 July 2009

      But the character is pretty much the centrum of it all – “his drill was GAR, but Simon was not” sort of, does not work, I think. Or for that matter, “the scene where Reuenthal scares away the head of the secret police was GAR, but Reuenthal was not” (let’s imagine there is someone alive who doesn’t find Reuenthal GAR for the sake of argument).

      But it’s a good way of looking at how a character becomes a funnel of GAR, I’d cogitate.

      Reply

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