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Mocks Nix

June 29, 2020

Melville Un Flic

If I were a New Yorker I probably would have gone with Mocks Knicks, but I am not a New Yorker and care nothing for that team or any of their teams, except the Lizards, who are unfailingly crispy with the rock but really a Long Island outfit.  (I do like that the word knickerbocker has been kept alive.) Mox Nix looks good to me. I have no interest in Nicks. Machts Nichts makes it seem like you don’t know it’s not correct German but an American bungle or, some think, jazzy improvement. I learned the phrase from my parents, who met in Germany. Did I ever use it myself? I can’t remember. I know I said “I don’t care” a lot as a child. “Mox nix” would have been a lot more charming but, for that very reason, perhaps inadequate as a form of self-expression. It does not sound sullen. I think of it as a cheerful phrase although the meaning of “makes no difference” can, in some circumstances, be a bit of a downer. For example, as the answer to the question “Should I attempt CPR?” “Machts nix, Mensch defunkt.”

Some of us are mox nix people, with an instinctively positive reaction to the shrug of whatever, while others are not. Almost all of the problems of the world are caused by those others, and nearly as many solutions. We mocks nixers just let go and live and then let go and die. None of this should be thought to have anything to do with the image above, which is from Melville’s Un Flic, and was chosen for its Contemporary Resonance. I have an untweeted tweet, which is the sweetest kind of tweet, and it goes like this: The real tragedy is how predictable this year’s Halloween costumes are going to be. I kept it to myself because I refuse to underestimate the human imagination and the skills of American crafters. And yet we will never be as chic as the French in our efforts to simultaneously protect public health and personal identity.

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