by Bonnie Wurst
While pondering the ‘Charter Affirming The Values Of Secularism And The Religious Neutrality Of The State, As Well As The Equality Of Men And Women, And The Framing Of Accommodation Requests’ of Quebec’ or ‘Bill 60’, the new ‘buzz’ word – it occurred to me that Mary Poppins was ahead of her time.
Mary had her own charter of values long before this charter – which is the longer charter of the original charter, which became the charter that affirms the charter, which was tabled in Quebec.
Follow me? Well, it doesn’t matter anyhow because I’m not about to try and interpret that charter. People far more qualified than I have been doing a very good job at it.
Mary Poppins’ charter, the ‘Charter of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Values’ was fictitiously tabled in 1964 in the House of Disney and she extolled its virtues well. Probably in part because it was easier to pronounce and rather catchy at that.
At first glance it seems to be a fabricated word, a meaningless word, like some of the words in Bill 60 – but upon further investigation I discovered there is a lot more to it. It’s not at all like the words we’ve grown accustomed to hearing from our present politicians.
When Poppins first tabled her charter it was referred to as ‘something to say when you have nothing to say’, like when one is at a loss for words. Isn’t that what most politicians do today? But when the Honorable Poppins entered the House of Disney in 1964, arriving on a SHUGAR-3 Umbrella (one of her major accomplishments when she was the minister of FAF, Fun and Finances – the project came in at more than a few Spoonfuls of Sugar under budget), she explained it meant ‘great, fantastic and really cool’, something like today’s ‘awesome’, ‘radical’ and ‘wicked’. It was simply all-inclusive.
The Union of Chimney Sweeps strongly supported her initiative and choreographed several flash mob dances on the rooftops of London under their campaign banner ‘Chim chim-in-ey, Chim chim-in-ey, Chim chim cher-oo!’ Except for a brief outburst from Poppins’ Uncle Albert and his mid-air Tea Party, the Charter received very little opposition and was quickly passed.
Although somewhat cryptic at first, the details of the ‘Charter of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Values’ were even more inclusive and more ‘for the people’ than imagined.
According to several experts, the words of the Charter actually have Greek and Latin origins. An analysis of each part of the word found that ‘Super-cali-fragilistic-expiali-docious’ put together roughly means ‘atoning for extreme and delicate beauty while remaining highly educable’. The roots of the word having been defined as follows:
Article 1 – SUPER: above, over
Article 2 – CALI: beauty
Article 3 – FRAGILISTIC: delicate
Article 4 – EXPIALI: to atone, to make amends
Article 5 – DOCIOUS: educable, able to learn
May I offer you my interpretation of the Mary Poppins Charter of Values:
Let’s all rise above and acknowledge
The beauty within each being
So delicate life and so fleeting
Might we atone for iniquities past
As educable beings, my sisters and brothers
… we can bring forth the true Charter at last.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious – if you say it loud enough you’ll always sound precocious – SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS! Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay…
Bonnie Wurst is a freelance journalist, a weekly columnist for the Montreal Times, a novelist, ghost writer (not the scary kind) and humorist. Her book “Damaged Goods Re-Stitched” can be found on Amazon.com. Bonnie is available for speaking engagements and can be reached at email@example.com