Monday, August 25, 2008

Bringing It Back

There has been some debate amongst my friends as to what exactly constitutes as topical. We introduced some new terms, so I thought I would highlight them here.

First let's go over the basics. Something is topical if it is a reference to an idea (quote, meme, etc) from the present or recent past. Now this is a blurred line, and it is hard to say if something is truly topical. Issues about whether something is topical or not should be handled by popular vote. In the event of a tie, the referencer should decide. If the referencer is unavailable (or on TV), then the person who cried topical has the right to make the final judgment. It seems like overkill, but this is important stuff.

Bringing it back is when an idea is referenced from the distant past. The idea must have almost been forgotten for it to be considered bringing it back. The same rules that applied to topical work here, when deciding whether something is to be considered bringing it back.

It is important to note that these two definitions cover the entire set of ideas and are disjoint. This means that every idea is either topical OR bringing it back. It is impossible to be both or neither.

Someone tried to raise the point that bringing something back is topical, if another idea was brought back recently. But it is the idea of bringing it back that is topical, not what is being brought back. So what is being brought back is still bringing it back, and bringing it back is topical. (I dare you to make less sense.)

Now the idea of bringing it back being topical may fall into the category of metatopical. Metatopical is a subset of topical and refers to the idea of topical being topical itself. This definition could be extended to refer to occasions when bringing it back is topical. Likewise, we could also introduce the idea of meta bringing it back. I have never experience an occasion when this would be used, but it may someday be possible to bring back the idea of topical. And when that day comes, it will be meta bringing it back.

I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce the idea of neotopical. This is an idea that's topical almost immediately after its conception. A reference would have to be made within minutes or hours of the original event for something to be considered neotopical. Again, the same rules apply when there is a discrepancy in determining the neotopicalness of a reference.

Well, I hope this has cleared up the confusion for you all. I welcome your comments and questions.


  1. I try to use "balls to the wall" and "like Kobe at a hotel, I couldn't help myself" as much as humanly possible nowadays.

  2. I seriously blurted out laughter (yeah you could say I LOL'd) when I read the paragraph about bringin it back being topical and you ended with "I dare you to make less sense". Mostly because the idea of bringing it back being topical was my idea and I stand by it.

    and that post was topical, no matter how you slice it.

  3. Haha yea, that cracks me up too. Mostly because it's a quote from the Venture Bros. Which is topical to the discussion, because by quoting it I was bringing it back.

    Words are fun!

  4. In your poll, there should be a "...what?" option.

  5. I believe "neotopical" should be used to describe references to either an event that is still occuring or has just finished. For example, if one were to go to Popeye's and say, "Remember that time we went to Popeye's and ate all that chicken." while still in the act, then I believe that would be a neotopical reference. I believe it would also still apply on the drive home.