EricSkiff.com Open Source Everything

16Oct/063

“Skiffy” used as an adjective

It's not every day you see one of your old, obscure high-school nicknames show up on the web, and certainly not used as an adjective!

Cory Doctorow used "Skiffy" today, and I had to go look it up:

Dibbell is a sharp writer and a sharp thinker, and the book is dense with ideas so skiffy and weird that it probably contains the germ of thirty science fiction novels (my story Anda's Game, about virtual Mexican sweatshops, was inspired by his original reportage of this phenomenon)

I was pretty clueless as to how Cory intended "skiffy" to be taken, so I turned to google.

According to wikipedia, it turns out that "Skiffy" is an ironic geek-joke, referring to the mispronounciation of the term sci-fi.

The word originated as a mispronunciation of the term "sci fi," which had been coined by Forrest ("Forry") J Ackerman in 1954. Mr. Ackerman was a film review writer who became the editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, which celebrated the schlock (some would say "campy") monster/sf movies which were frowned upon by many hardcore science fiction fans as being too poor in quality to be taken seriously and definitely not to be confused with "real" science fiction.

Eventually, skiffy became synonymous with any poorly made, low-budget science fiction film or schlocky science fiction work with a high camp humor value. For example, under such usage, Plan 9 from Outer Space is definitely considered skiffy.

Very interesting... It seems I was pre-destined to be a geek!

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  1. Sorry, no, this is Eric Skiff 🙂 I found your blog when you used the bagel picture in one of your recent posts. I imagine you found it through google images, but it actually resides here on my server. No worries, it’s just interesting how that bagel image gets around!

  2. Skiffy.. crazy man, you were born to be geeee eeee ky..

    I like the “skiffy became synonymous with any poorly made, low-budget science fiction film or schlocky science fiction work with a high camp humor value” — it reminds me of the Star Trek episodes Brian was making down in his basement room … man… long long time ago.


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