Thursday, April 16, 2009

Here’s the fruit of a little armchair etymology tracing the connection between figs qua fruit and Les Figues' work bringing innovative writing and aesthetic conversations to fruition:

“Fig" is feague—‘whipping’ or ‘beating,’ from the German fegen—‘polish.’ Feg = fake flattery = “fig shower.” “A fig tree displays its roots.” It also descends from sycophant, from sykon (Greek) also “vulva.” Yes, the fig/female genital connection is old as the Greeks and older (see below).

On fig reproduction: “The tiny flowers of the fig are out of sight, clustered inside the green ‘fruits’, technically a synconium . . . In the case of the common fig the flowers are all female and need no pollination.” (California Rare Fruit Growers website). Who knew the Inland Empire was a hot bed of fig hybridization? — the “Excel,” “Flanders,” “Judy” and “Len” varieties originated in Riverside or Pasadena.

N.B. I’ll remind you figs aren’t the only fruit where a whole stands for a part that’s a hole. The pomegranate, la grenade does that too, & in the same Romance languages.

Figs are also fig.ures—the dope on tropes, as in representation, con.fig.ured. Which shows off another con our forked tongue pulls off: con. (Fr., n.m.), "idiot" and "female genital," pardon my French.
Fig. leaves keep covering up women already under/between covers (of themselves) — ‘down there’ where fig. figs literally symbolize.

Fig./fig, try out this: “I like to make things that look like one thing even as they contain another….” (Who said that, Teresa?)

Fig. leaves are large; they’re cover-ups. Leaves go figure. “Leaves”—as a fig.—as pages of a book. Pressed figs. Paper was skin first, papyrus, then wood by-product. Paper grows on trees, & books would be made of fig. leaves, cover to cover.

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