One of the premises of linguistic determinism is that “the structures, hierarchies, and hidden associations of our individual human languages determine the conclusions that we reach in our logic, the aspirations of our lived lives, and all our emotional content.” (Wiki). As opposed to linguistic relativity – a flip side of the debate which allows for more latitude as relates to the purpose and limits of language and thought, determinism suggests that all events are caused by all previous events, and – similar to predestination – that they were meant only for a particular purpose.

My fascination with words and poetry stems from a similar line of thought – at least as it relates to those still benign implications of the school of thought. One of my favourite parts of Czeslaw Milosz’s Visions from San Francisco Bay was where he was contemplating the source of words, and whether somewhere on a mere conceptual plane they had been predestined to fulfill the roles they do in poetry, jokes and fiction. A song by Rihanna titled “We found love in a hopeless place” was recently satirized as “We found Dove in a soapless place”, successfully replicating the rhyme and rhythm, and yet providing sufficient absurdity to make it a joke. Last week, a host on Fox news joked about the Sandra Fluke contraception controversy and its tv coverage, saying, “You don’t judge a Fluke by its coverage.” Boom.

There are a thousand and one instances of lexical serendipity to support a theory for “poetic determinism” (my coinage). Like Milosz, I find more than just co-incidences in the abundant evidence of the hand of the mystic in our communication patterns. I noted it when Obama killed Osama, or when the most remarkable election in America’s recent history just happened to feature a man with a middle name “Hussein” right during a war in Iraq. Mitt Romney’s last name has been occasionally anagrammed as “R-Money”, for good reason, and poetic justice. And just two days ago, a video surfaced that successfully arranged all his public gaffes into a rap song scored by – wait for it: another Michigan native – Eminem. Watch below:

Of course, due credit must go to the genius of the people patient enough to arrange such a brilliant collection of sound bites into a meaningful piece of poetic art. A bigger credit – for those convinced of such a thing as the predestination of words – must go to the mischief-making lexical muses of the realm. And then sometime last year, a congressman who tweeted pictures of his genitals just happened to have been named “Wiener”. Don’t even get me started on the endless tonal possibilities of ambiguity in the Yoruba language. Well, here’s one more:

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