Richard the Lionheart …

the_cowardly_lion_by_o0amphigory0o-d5w8qtz

The Cowardly Lion by Stephanie Kunze

Good morning, folks!

In spite of the title, today I’m not going to talk about courage. Considering what day’s today, a bit of courage is needed, but in fact today’s word by A.W.A.D. is related to faint-hearted characters. Not a roaring lion, but rather a miaowing kitten!

milquetoast

PRONUNCIATION:
(MILK-tohst)
MEANING:
noun: A timid, unassertive person.
ETYMOLOGY:
After Caspar Milquetoast, a comic strip character by H.T. Webster (1885-1952). A synonym of the word is milksop. Earliest documented use: 1932.
USAGE:
“Martin Oberman: This is a very tough place. You can’t be a milquetoast.”
Peter Slevin; Testing Rahm; The Washington Post; Sep 13, 2012.
ITALIAN TRANSLATION: 1. persona mite, docile, timida 2. coniglio (fig.)
When I first saw the meaning of this word, my instictive translation was ‘viola mammola‘ (in English it should be wood or sweet violet). Indeed the meaning is not exactly the same, a s.c. ‘viola mammola’ is someone who’s timid, unassertive, modest and virtuous, at least, apparently. But if you call a man ‘viola mammola’, then the two meanings tend to converge. Quite rude and demeaning.
A few words on the image: For the few (comprised me) who don’t know it, the Cowardly Lion portrayed above is a fictional character appearing in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. An apparent contrast between nature and instinct. A lion with a chicken heart (Italians would say cuor di coniglio, i.e. rabbit heart), an oddity. As a matter of fact it’s just a matter of misperception and mismanagement of fear. What do I mean? Fear is inside anyone, coward and brave, it’s our precious safeguard against peril. It’s how we manage it that makes us brave or coward. Bravery and cowardice are two extremes but the result of the same problem: misperception of danger. In the first case, it’s underrated, in the second overrated. Obviously, I’m not talking about heroes, who perceive the danger but face it at risk of their own lives to save someone else’s life, it’s a completely different matter. Though being at the antipodes, both attitudes are basically a deviation from the natural scheme and can lead sometimes to unwelcome effects.  Latins would say In medio stat virtus (literally ” Virtue stands in the middle”), so under some circumstances a degree of prudence is advisable – after all, prudence is indeed one of the four cardinal virtues (along with justice, temperance and fortitude)!
Well folks, today I’m going to leave you with a song in tune with the forthcoming night: Black hole sun by Soundgarden
A couple of funny remarks: 1) the song is absolutely perfect for the celebration but surely not for the above mentioned fainted-hearted guys. Nor the quite eerie video. 2) Talking about flowers (sweet violets), the band’s name contains the word ‘garden’.
For those who are going to celebrate, have an awesome Halloween!
For those instead who don’t like this feast … enjoy the long week-end!
Bye-bye, folks!
Your passionate (Italian) Translator
P.S.: I’m not sure I’ll be able to post the last daily word by the end of this week. I apologize in advance if I will not.
About the author of the illustration: Stephanie Kunze is a very young artist with a passion for drawing and writing. Her two passions led her to graduate at the Maryland Institute College of Art and to specialize in book illustrations with a delicate, fairy stile. A terrific pencil designer, so talented and accurate that her drawings look like real photos. Website: http://www.stephkunze.com/.  Enjoy!
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