My New Favorite Foreign Word

… is poshlost, Russian for, roughly:

“self-satisfied vulgarity…” “… banality, with a characteristic national flavoring of metaphysics and high morality, and a peculiar conjunction of the sexual and the spiritual. This one word encompasses triviality, vulgarity, sexual promiscuity, and a lack of spirituality. The war against poshlost’ was a cultural obsession of the Russian and Soviet intelligentsia from the 1860s to 1960s.”

Of course, I first encountered this term in an article railing against –– what else? –– the about-to-premiere HBO show Girls.  

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