Missed you guys. Love this conversation. Been away a bit. Walking in the Lake District avec famille. Swapped lots of fine anecdotes there - I'm an anecdoting father. If I go over to some social networking website and tell one or two, would it make me an anecdotcomalist?
That "True story, I swear" catchphrase has always fucked me off a little bit. As if to assure me that the upcoming anecdote is so astonishing, so remarkable that I will unfailingly doubt its veracity - jesus, just out with it and I'll be the judge of its likelihood. Gosh, I'm in a pissy mood this morning. Of course I don't think like that when ruddy with booze and bonhomie.
My experience with anecdotes seems different from the perfected kind that others here seem to have; I've always thought of them as those stories about our own lives that we always have and always seem to have this social or philosophical need to share. Whether they're outrageously funny or tremendously interesting or not, they're a way to share experiences with friends and others around us. With the right people, that's a valuable, even a precious thing.
Then of course there are those remarkable human beings who have an endless store of those tales, all of them fascinating. Maybe that sort of person would be an anecdotalist, whereas what I'm describing is just people telling anecdotes.
Ooh, I don't think of raconteurs at all. I think of an Irish guy (or girl for that matter) in a bar telling an incredibly funny story—"True story! No, true story, I swear!"—that goes on for a good five or ten minutes until everyone in the room is roaring. To me, that's distinct from storytelling per se.
I'm sorry if that comes off as offensive to Irish people.... Maybe my association is because my gifted-anecdotalist friend is of Irish descent and told many, many hilarious (and otherwise) stories of family members. (Did I mention she also has a gift for accents of all kinds?) But I've known other good anecdotalists, none of whom were of Irish descent, so I don't think of it as a stereotype.
Maybe, given the accents, what she did was more like storytelling, but far, far less formal. *ponders*
I admire an accompished anecdotalist (though such people are exceedingly rare), as I'd admire an expert trampolinist, or an orator of any other discipline, but I don't particularly enjoy listening to anecdotes. It seems to me there's a stagey ostentatiousness about them, which is only magnified by the cultivated modesty of a raconteur, and I find this slightly offputting. I suppose I prefer discourse which isn't planned or rehearsed; I especially like hearing people express things they haven't tried to express before (assuming they're able to do it with panache).
I think the anecdotalist's art is distinct from the storyteller's. Or is a story just a long anecdote? I'm not sure. I'm extemporising here!
Gosh, I never thought of my loudmouth, unendingly-not-quiet family as being anecdotalists, but that must be the (polite) word for them. Or, wait--is there a word for an anecdotalist who can tell a story well at the same time as he's listening to three other anecdotalists tell their stories? There are almost never less, and sometimes more, than three conversations progressing at the same time, in the same room, with the same participants.
Though I think the term for a person with that skill is not "anecdotalist" but quite possibly "New Yorker."
For what it's worth, Rolig, many rural southerners are still very good storytellers, both in terms of the story content and the rich metaphors that are so typically used to tell them. My grandfather was a master anecdotalist, and a lecturer on the Chautauqua Society circuit for much of his life. As children, we were all instructed in the conversational arts. Sadly, though, it's a dying tradition.
The art was still valued in certain parts of the US at least as late as the 1970s. I remember going with my parents in 1972 or so to visit relatives in Danville, Virginia, and really enjoying listening to the way people told stories. There was a certain gentility in the way they referred even to things like someone's senility ("she's getting a bit feeble in the head") or alcoholism ("he still likes to take a nip or two now and then"), and I could sense the way they really enjoyed words and the different shades of meaning and emotion that could be conveyed. They were as much concerned with how something was said, and the pleasure they could give their listeners, as with what was being said.
I'm not the one to ask, probably. I think being able to foster and continue a good conversation was always, or almost always, an almost-lost talent. It seems like few people notice that it's a skill, or choose to develop it, and I suspect it was that way before MyFaceTube as well as after. Same with storytelling, really (an extended version, one could argue, of anecdotal-ing).
I actually got an award in college, "given to the student who best exemplifies blah blah blah blah blah, and a gift for intelligent conversation." Huh?! Guess they couldn't have foreseen my Specific Excrement list and all the conversations THAT spawned. ;)
A gaffe is a general term for saying something one shouldn't say, something that is a social blunder. It might be something in poor taste, or it might just be the result of ignorance or insensitivity or not thinking before you open your mouth. For example:
"I was so delighted to hear that your son is getting married next month. We all thought he was a 'confirmed bachelor', you know. Who is the lucky girl?"
"His name's Joe, and he's a wonderful young man."
"Oh, I see. Well, times have changed… Excuse me, but I just saw the Cohens and simply must wish them a Merry Christmas."
An anecdotalist is someone who is known for telling (hopefully, entertaining) anecdotes. It is a perfectly good word. I don't know how long it has been in English, but it reflects a time, which may seem like ancient history now, when people used to meet face to face and entertain each other by telling amusing stories and having interesting conversations (a person who knew how to keep up their end of a conversation was called a good conversationalist). People do something similar on social-networking sites today, except that they usually don't know who it is they are conversing with and skills at things like conversation and telling amusing anecdotes are not highly valued. Today, it seems, people prefer to tweet at each other.
One who has mastered the art of bullshitting is known as a bullshit artist. Seanahan has given you the proper term for one who is renowned for making up words, but if you are looking for the word for someone who generally makes up stories, you might try fabulist or (if it's a pathological tendency) mythomaniac. I am not sure what you are trying to say by suggesting the word "inpoortatalist". I expect there is a good word for someone who likes to tell stories that are in poor taste (if that is what you are looking for), but it escapes me at the moment.
Ron Wagner, that may be a quip (though I don't get the joke), but it surely is not an anecdote, which implies a brief story, the recounting of an incident, usually but not necessarily with a humorous "punch line". He used to regale his friends with anecdotes about his college days, but then they all started to avoid him. He wasn't the anecdotalist he thought he was.