Ron Sakolsky: Hands Off ‘Surreal’

Robert Graham's Anarchism Weblog

Max Ernst 'L'ange du foyer' Max Ernst ‘L’ange du foyer’

Miriam-Webster has declared “surreal” the word of the year for 2016. As Ron Sakolsky argues below, they don’t seem to know what the word means, which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in their dictionary. At least they didn’t choose “anarchy”!



The enemies of poetry have always been obsessed with making it a slave to their immediate ends. They see jet bombers without thinking of Icarus.

Benjamin Péret

On December 19, 2016, the gatekeepers of discourse at Miriam-Webster Dictionary named “surreal” as its Word of the Year.

Far from taking this dubious distinction as a compliment, the living surrealist movement is appalled by Webster’s simplistic, distorted and one-dimensional characterization of the term “surreal” as being relegated to descriptions of disaster situations. As surrealists, we must speak for ourselves to provide a larger surrealist context for understanding the deeper questions of…

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