Steampunk Month

Steampunk Blogging, aka Tit-Tat

 

As you read in my recent Cities of Ether story “The Strange Case of Mr. Salad Monday,” tit-tat is steampunk’s answer to blogging. Where blogs and online posting boards exist in a digital world kept alive by electricity, tit-tat finds an analog equivalent: the printed page. In tit-tat, commentators submit articles on current events and public issues to printing houses, which in turn compile them and print them out on large broadsheets. Practitioners of tit-tat (called “tatters”) read these articles and then submit comments to the printing houses in the same way that modern blog followers leave comments on blog entries. The tit-tat comments are then compiled by the printing houses and printed up along with the next edition of broadsheets. Tags and reference numbers are used to keep track of which comments are responding to which articles; many comments are even directed partly or entirely at other comments.

Because of the space limitations inherent in the printed page, tit-tat uses a system of abbreviations to signify long statements and ideas in only a few letters. These abbreviations have their own phonetic pronunciations, which are used in everyday speech. In addition, the tatting subculture that has developed around tit-tat has created its own set of slang terms, which are used both in tit-tat comments and in common conversation.

For example, the statement: PMI but AIR you said we’d agree with you ATEOTD, but MOF we cracked your numb and now I’m PNTBIYP because IIMOT you’re for the furnace.
Can be translated into: Pardon my interruption, but as I recall you said we’d agree with you at the end of the day, but as a matter of fact we figured out what you were really up to and now I’m pleased not to be in your position because it’s my opinion that you’re as good as finished.


AA “Aye-aye”; As [written] above
Abt “Ab’t”; About
ABM “Ab-me”; Amused beyond measure (often sarcastic or mocking)
ADIH “Add-he”; Another day in Hell/Heaven (sarcastic)
AIR “Air”; As I recall
AISB “Ace-bee”; As it should be
ATAP “At-ap”; Anytime, anyplace
ATEOTD “Ate-odd”; At the end of the day
AWSP “Aye-wasp”; As was said previously
AYM “Aim”; Are you mad? (statement of disbelief)

BHGB “Bah-geb”; By Heaven’s great beyond
BW “Bee-you”; Best wishes; often sarcastic
BWLIU “Bee-you-lee-you”; Bloody well look it up

Con “Con”; Continued [in a later comment]

DPDP “Dip-dip”; Don’t put down the page [until I finish my argument]

Ed “Ed”; Editor
EGG “Eggs”; Extremely good grammar; used as a backhanded compliment
As in, “the only good thing you can say about it is it has eggs”
EUDT “You’d-tee”; Easy as un deux trios, “one two three” in Villeois

Fnr “Four-near”; Foreigner

HAND “Hand”; Have a nice day
HAPE “Hape”; Have a pleasant evening
HYT “Hite”; Hold your tongue!
HYTLOYS “Hay-toys”; Have you taken leave of your senses?

IAH “Eye-ah”; In all honesty
IHN “Eye-aych-en”; In Heaven’s name
IHHN “Eye-double-aych-en”; In Heaven’s holy name
IIE “Eye-ee”; Information in excess
IIMOT “Eye-moth”; It is my opinion that
IIR “Eye-are”; If I recall
IMV “Eye-move”; In my view
ISA “Eye-sa”; I stand amazed
ITFOT “It-foot”; In the fullness of time

KSOAD “Kay-soda”; Kindly sod off and die

MOF “Moff”; [As a] matter of fact

OAT “Oat”; On another topic
OOTD “Ought-dee”; One of these days

PMI “Pim”; Pardon my interruption/interjection
PNTBIYP “Pint-buy-yip”; Pleased not to be in your position
POTC “Potsy”; [Like] putting one over on the censor (impossible)
Prin “Prin”; Printer

Q “Cue”; Question
QFU “Cue-foo”; Question for you
QU “Cue-you”; Quite unrelated

Sal “Sal”; Salut, a Villeois word meaning “hello” in a familiar context
SYBM “Symbol”; Shut your bloody mouth!

TDay “Tea-day”; Today
TMor “Tea-more”; Tomorrow
TMN “Tim-knee”; To my knowledge
TMWFI “Tim-wifi”; Take my word for it
TNite “Tea-night”; Tonight
TTIC “Tick”; The topic is closed (the discussion is finished)
TYFYT “Tie-fight”; Thank you for your time

UL “You-el”; Unrestrained laughter; a statement of mockery
UPO “Up-oh”; Until proven otherwise

WADH “Wad-he”; With all due haste
WJAM “Way-jam”; Wait just a moment
WMP “Wamp”; Won’t make print (not worth consideration)
WNRF “Were-nerf”; With no regard for
WNRFPD “Were-nerf-pud”; With no regard for public decency

 

“Bumpy” Tricky or difficult
From rough machine parts jamming easily

“Smooth” Easy to manage; not “bumpy”
From smooth machine works running better

“Glass” Super “smooth”; used in any situation to signify the positive
Logical derivation of smooth; “glass is as smooth as it comes”

“OK” All right, good
From “oll korrect”, which is not in fact all correct

“For the furnace” Dead, doomed, in grave trouble

“Post” To post is to give something, often information
“Post the titles” Give the most important pieces of information
From article titles giving an immediate sense of the topic

“Private letters” Personal information

“Cite the facts” To demonstrate evidence for an argument, or to “see the truth”

“Numb” Short for “reference number”; details on the subject in question

“Crack” To find the truth of something
From “to crack a code”

“Sharp and fresh” Very well; akin to “loud and clear”
From sharp press letters and fresh ink giving a clearer image

“By this morning’s edition” Immediately

“Sticky key” Someone or something difficult, not willing to help

“Butter” To flatter or bribe; also “butter up”
From butter being an expensive commodity

“Tit-tat” A hobby involving printed conversations and arguments
From “tit for tat” and the sound of keys tapping

“Tatter” A person who does tit-tat

“Titting” Being obnoxious for the sake of being obnoxious

“Tit” A tatter who makes a habit of titting people


G. D. Falksen is a writer and student of history who has given lectures on the steampunk genre and subculture. Though it may be difficult to believe, he is fascinated by the First World War. Further details can be found on his website, www.gdfalksen.com

citation

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