Monday, October 22, 2018

The Words: Deliquescence

Deliquescent means having the tendency to dissolve. Alka Seltzer commercials used to provide a clear example of deliquescence to the extent that this was exactly what the product was selling. Not only were the tablets an example of deliquescence, they hopefully would do the same to the irritation within the stomach. So it was a double whammy. The advertiser got their cake and ate it too and it was an example of onomatopoeia since the word itself seems to dissolve on the tip of your tongue. When you think of deliquescence you conjure a flowing stream, a bubbling brook in which spawning salmon occasionally jump to snatch insects off the surface of the water. There's something pure about the deliquescence that separates it from the toxic green toxic sludge that you find in chemical wastelands in the sea of industrial plants on the Jersey side of the Hudson and you can’t have deliquescence when there’s an inorganic environmental catastrophe. Deliquescence doesn’t go with the notion of the atomic reactor overheating in Chernobyl or the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. There's something pure and mythic about deliquescence, the stasis in movement of Millais’” Ophelia.” Satie is the essence of deliquescence in music but there's nary a deliquescent moment in Wagner.

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