In his classic 1968 book “The Joys of Yiddish,” Leo Rosten defined “chutzpah” as “gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible ‘guts,’ presumption plus arrogance.” As he often did in the book’s definitions, Rosten included a joke as an example, further defining “chutzpah” as “that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.” But these days the word isn’t always used pejoratively; sometimes it’s spoken with admiration for sheer gutsiness.
This week, as Loser Jim Lubell suggests: Give us a humorous example of hypothetical (or true, but remember humorous) chutzpah, along the lines of Rosten’s example above. It may be the quality of the writing, not just the idea, that determines what will get ink this time.
Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a lovely teeny-tiny music box that you have to keep cranking to make work. How Loserly is that? On top of that, it plays “If I Only Had a Brain.” Donated by Dave Prevar.
Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get a tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to firstname.lastname@example.org or
See the results of Week 945 — our edible-art photo contest — here or at washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational.
Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, where the Empress discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, write to the Empress at email@example.com (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the far more lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in.
Next week: Tour de Fours VIII: Noelogisms, or LO EN Behold