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In The Jerk (1979) there's a line like this:

Navin: Really? A cosmetologist? It must be tough to handle the weightlessness.

What does it mean?

1 Answer 1

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The humor is in the misconception that a cosmetologist goes into space, which is weightless.

The word Navin was confusing was COSMONAUT - an astronaut, or COSMOLOGIST - astrophysicist.

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    Or, more generally, a confusion between the two Greek roots kosmos (appearance) and cosmos (universe). Dec 28, 2014 at 0:29
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    @JustinLardinois There's no difference between kosmos and cosmos, just different transliterations. The root of cosmetologist is kosmētikos.
    – Prometheus
    May 30, 2019 at 0:38
  • What's funny about this is that Navin would even have known the word "cosmonaut" -- it naïve of him to believe that a random person could have been in the soviet space program but to his credit that he had some vague awareness of cosmonauts. (I wonder if Navin's name is related to the word "naïve?" )
    – releseabe
    Jan 20, 2022 at 0:14
  • @releseabe - he did once apply to be an astronaut... while he failed "everything but the Date of Birth", he might still have picked up, then mostly forgot, the word cosmonaut
    – komodosp
    May 30, 2023 at 11:33

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