those fabulous furless geek brothers (rendered unimportant by recent events)

THE BIG BANG THEORY is an end­lessly re­watch­able show: aside from the fab­u­lous char­ac­ters and the in­ter­twin­ing of their per­sonal lives, the di­a­log is chock-a-block full of hu­mor of all sorts, from the zany to the kind that re­quires the viewer ei­ther have a rea­son­able IQ or ac­cess to the In­ter­net to look things up. And there's so much sex­ual hu­mor, bla­tant and in­nu­endo.

Sheldon's de­f­i­n­i­tion of the word 'moot' as 'ren­dered unim­por­tant by re­cent events' caused me to pause and pon­der what he meant.

The hu­mor might be called con­tem­po­rary slap­stick, but it of­ten re­minds me of the same type of slap­stick that found its way into the un­der­ground comix of the late 1960s and early '70s. If writer and artist Gilbert Shel­ton had mor­phed from an acid-dropping, long­haired, San Fran­cisco hip­pie into an acid-dropping, man-bun-wearing, Sil­i­con Val­ley type, he might have re­con­fig­ured Fat Freddy, Free­wheelin' Frank, and Phineas of the Fab­u­lous Furry Freak Broth­ers and made Leonard, Shel­don, Howard, and Ra­jesh into the Fab­u­lous Fur­less Geek Broth­ers.

Just as The Big Bang The­ory has its own sci­ence con­sul­tant for the var­i­ous charts and di­a­grams that the guys con­stantly scrib­ble onto their ever-available white­boards, it also seems they have a con­sul­tant for some of the more ob­scure as­pects and minu­tiae of life and how it's lived. Rarely are they in er­ror, even about the sub­jects of their jok­ing. 1

But they do get things or two wrong oc­ca­sion­ally.

 

Geek Brothers: front cover of the underground comic THE COLLECTED ADVENTURES OF THE FABULOUS FURRY FREAK BROTHERS.

The Col­lected Ad­ven­tures Of The Fab­u­lous Furry Freak Broth­ers is a com­pi­la­tion of strips writ­ten and drawn by Gilbert Shel­ton that orig­i­nally ap­peared in The Rag, an un­der­ground news­pa­per in Austin, Texas. This is es­sen­tially Freak Broth­ers #1 and is among the biggest sell­ing un­der­ground comix of all time.

Rendered unimportant by recent events

The open­ing scene of "The Agree­ment Dis­sec­tion" (sea­son 4, episode 21) has Shel­don need­ing im­me­di­ate ac­cess to the toi­let in the apart­ment he shares with Leonard. The door is closed and Leonard can be heard show­er­ing, so Shel­don knocks for per­mis­sion to en­ter. The brief (and of course hu­mor­ous) ex­change be­gins with this ex­change:

Shel­don:  "Leonard, are you in the shower?"
Leonard: "I can’t hear you — I’m in the shower!"
Shel­don:  "I asked if you were in the shower, but that’s moot now."
Leonard: "What?"
Shel­don:  "Moot — ren­dered unim­por­tant by re­cent events." 2

I paused the disc when I heard moot de­fined that way? I thought, "Wait! That's not what moot means!" But it may be one of many me­an­der­ing mis­mean­ings as­cribed to the word by peo­ple who use it with­out tak­ing a few mo­ments to look it up and get it right!

So, if you're one of those peo­ple, I have taken the time for you. Be­low find the pri­mary de­f­i­n­i­tions of the word moot from four well-known and well-used on­line dic­tio­nar­ies (listed al­pha­bet­i­cally):

•  Cam­bridge Dic­tio­nary: of a mat­ter be­ing con­sid­ered that has not been de­cided and can there­fore still be dis­cussed.
•  Dictionary.com: open to dis­cus­sion or de­bate; de­bat­able; doubt­ful.
•  Free Dic­tio­nary: sub­ject to de­bate; ar­guable or un­set­tled.
•  Merriam-Webster: open to ques­tion, de­bat­able; sub­jected to dis­cus­sion, dis­puted.

Each of the sources of­fered sec­ondary de­f­i­n­i­tions be­cause moot has other mean­ings, such as "of lit­tle or no prac­ti­cal value." This is where some of the con­fu­sion con­cern­ing the word's mean­ing comes from. 3

If you know those other mean­ings for moot and want to use moot with one of those other mean­ings, keep in mind that most read­ers do not know those mean­ings.

Most read­ers will in­ter­pret your use of moot to mean de­bat­able and if de­bat­able doesn't work in the con­text in which you are us­ing, most read­ers will as­sume you do not know what the word means.

 

Geek Brothers: front cover of the underground comic FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE FABULOUS FURRY FREAK BROTHERS.

Fur­ther Ad­ven­tures Of The Fab­u­lous Furry Freak Broth­ers is a com­pi­la­tion of pre­vi­ously pub­lished strips writ­ten and drawn by Gilbert Shel­ton that picks up where Col­lected ad­ven­tures left off. This is es­sen­tially Freak Broth­ers #2 and is among the biggest sell­ing un­der­ground comix of all time.

If you absolutely must use it

So, for those of you who care about ac­tu­ally com­mu­ni­cat­ing your mean­ing with your choice of words — that is, you want what you've writ­ten to be un­der­stood by tour read­ers — here are Neal's Rules for Moot Us­age:

1.  Don't even use the word moot—use what­ever else you think it means.
2.  If you ab­solutely must use it, use it to mean "de­bat­able" and noth­ing else.

Fi­nally, I did not con­sider the le­gal de­f­i­n­i­tion of moot, as that can be con­sid­ered nomen­cla­ture. And there is moot as a noun: "as­sem­bly of freemen, from 12th cen­tury Old Eng­lish gemot, be­ing a meet­ing (es­pe­cially of freemen, to dis­cuss com­mu­nity af­fairs or mete jus­tice)."

Sheldon's de­f­i­n­i­tion of the word 'moot' as 'ren­dered unim­por­tant by re­cent events' caused me to pause and pon­der. Click To Tweet

Geek Brothers: caricature of the five main characters of THE BIG BANG THEORY.

FEATURED IMAGE: The fantab­u­lous car­i­ca­ture of the orig­i­nal five main char­ac­ters of The Big Bang The­ory at the top of this page is by Jsoleb. From left to right: Ra­jesh Koothrap­pali (Ku­nal Nay­yar), Howard Wolowitz (Si­mon Hel­berg), Penny (Ka­ley Cuoco), Leonard Hof­s­tadter (Johnny Galecki), and Shel­don Cooper (Jim Par­sons).

 


FOOTNOTES:

1   The sci­ence con­sul­tant is David Saltzberg, who teaches physics and as­tron­omy at UCLA.

2   This could have been used by the Big Bang writ­ers to play on Cheech & Chong's old "Dave's not here?" rou­tine.

3   In fact, the first thing I did was type "ren­dered unim­por­tant by re­cent events: into Google to see if it pulled some ar­cane source for the de­f­i­n­i­tion. Nope, the only thing it pulled up were count­less ref­er­ences to Sheldon's use of the word moot.

 

Geek Brothers: photo of Kaley Cuoco, star of THE BIG BANG THEORY.

As the ren­der­ing of Ka­ley Cuoco in the im­age above is not par­tic­u­larly flat­ter­ing, I thought I would close this piece out with an im­age that was — and this one will do nicely.

 

 

2 Replies to “those fabulous furless geek brothers (rendered unimportant by recent events)”

  1. Flat­ter­ing im­ages of Ka­ley Cuoco....I bet that wasn't the hard­est work you did all day

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