Sunday, January 28, 2007

Fink, FANK, Funk

1. Fink

Fink is short for Finkelstein; commonly it is a last name in its own right, as in Mike "Fink," the family friend who once gave me a mattress. Another example is Bruce Fink, translator of the works of Jacques Lacan and author of The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance, an excellent primer in all things subjectively split.

A fink is also someone slimy or slippery: an unsavory fellow. At a greater magnitude is the term "rat fink," presumably derived from the physiognomic comparison of the species rat and fink, thus indicating excessively rodent-like qualities, as in Dustin Hoffman's character in Midnight Cowboy.

Also, the verb "to fink," which signifies either the activity of lisped intellection, or the act of rodenting: to sniff, to crawl, to achieve unsavory doings.


From Wikipedia: The FANK (French: Force Armée Nationale Khmère — Khmer National Armed Forces) were the armed forces of the Khmer Republic, the state that existed between 1970-75, and today is known as Cambodia. FANK succeeded FARK (Force Armée Royale Khmère), which had been responsible for the defense of the Kingdom of Cambodia since its independence in 1954 from France.

3. Funk

"What is funk?" is a question my grandmother put to me during a recent attempt, on my part of course, to eulogize the late James Brown. When a grown woman needs a young man to tell her about the hardest working man in show business, I begin to think that the finer points of our civilization have been cruelly squandered. But as I remind myself, the Geist of funk is a complex one, beset by all the ambiguity and paradox of its nomial relations, "fink" and "FANK."

To be "in a funk": to experience doldrums and melancholy; in Kantian terms, to will the Blues. To be in a funky way, however, or, as with George Clinton, to have the funk (which is, as he reminds us, that which one has got to have - presumably if one is to undertake the entertaining occupation): to be moved by forces of dance and gaiety; but also to encounter a suavity of self, an inner-emmanating sense of cool. One who has the funk is good to lay down a masterful groove, but one who delves too deeply into matters funky, one who is "in a funk" --who passes within that territory whose boundaries bespeak gaiety and the Dionysiac, but whose nucleus is purely and monotonously Blue-- has gone too far. To merely have the funk is the secret of the funky. Funk is an ornament to those who have it; to those who seek its secrets, it is a prison of morose self-pitying.

To put it otherwise - Jump back, Jack; See you later, alligator.


Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

Delicious poetry, brother.

6:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home