I was drawn to the usage of the word, “proxy” in the following sentence of the article introducing the life and work of Vivian Maier (1926 -2009), a street photographer who took more than 150,000 photographs in her lifetime, while working as a nanny approximately 40 years in Chicago.
Some tellings of Maier’s story suggest that perhaps we should feel a proxy regret, that we should feel sorry about her solitude, her rages, her dark edges, her impecunious existence. Shall we make her a martyr or can we allow that she may have had the life she wanted? How did she see herself? We know that she was looking at that, too—the copious self-portraits prove it. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2014/05/vivian-maier-and-the-problem-of-difficult-women.html#slide_ss_0=1
CED defines ‘proxy’ as: noun.c.u. Authority given to a person to act for someone else, such as by voting for them in an election, or the person who this authority is given to.
OED also defines it only as a noun meaning;
- The authority to represent someone else, especially in voting.
- A person authorized to act on behalf of another.
- A figure that can be used to represent the value of something in a calculation. None of the above definitions seems to be applicable to the phrase, “feel a proxy regret.”
Is ‘proxy’ in the above quote used as a noun or adjective? What does it mean? Is it like ‘a sort of’?