January 21, 2013

Punning "fell out of favour during the Enlightenment..."

"... when the form's reliance on imprecision and silliness was out of kilter with the prevailing spirit of sophistication and rational inquiry."

29 comments:

Mark O said...

That's punny.

augustus said...

He who would pun would pick a pocket.

Synova said...

I've never managed puns much but they used to have pun cascades on rec.arts.s-f.composition that were phenomenal. That bunch of eccentrically educated writers could come up with puns and word-plays without seeming limits and still keep it all to English (though not necessarily avoiding the archaic.)

I'm not that good. When one would start I'd just sit back and enjoy the show.

rhhardin said...

Switch to tom swifties.

deborah said...

"Switch to tom swifties," he said flippantly.

edutcher said...

Whoever wrote that never went to an all boys school.

chickelit said...

Whatever you think of them, is difficult not to laugh at some of Hitchens’ best puns. Here are some of my favourite, although I am sure each has his own list:
‘From Abbottabad to Worse’ [On finding Osama Bin Laden in the Pakistani city. Vanity Fair, July 2011]
‘Jumbo Mumbo’ [a description of Fred Hoyle's absurd remark that chemical evolution is "as likely as a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and spontaneously assembling a Boeing 747 airplane". God is Not Great]
‘The Missionary Position’ [Book title on Mother Teresa's devotion to Christianity and neglect for the suffering of others]
‘Flaws of Gravity’ [an essay on Isaac Newton's intellectual and personal faults, Vanity Fair, April 14, 2008]

At the very least, they act as a valuable aide-mémoire for obscure ideas. For example, how can you now possibly forget the name of the city where Osama Bin Landen was found, or how it is pronounced?
link

chickelit said...

I just don't know what to say to someone around here who dislikes puns. It's like saying you dislike Ruth Anne Addams. It just ain't right.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Puns are my family's love language.

When a friend sat on and broke an incandescent light bulb, I said she had 'tungsten in cheek.'

Now come on. That's just brilliant.


Chickelit: Mwah. Love you.

kentuckyliz said...

My family were pun oriented. It takes a verbally enlightened mind.

sydney said...

My kids love puns. I'm not so good at them, but they can amuse themselves for long stretches trying to outdo each other. One of my son's favorite T-shirts at the moment has a picture of a tent with the words "Live Intense" under it. I would say puns aren't dead judging by the reactions he gets from girls when he's wearing it.

MadisonMan said...

Best Tom Swifty ever: "I know where Elmer Fudd is buried," Tom quipped.

It has always been my contention that the Kohl Center here in Madison should have been named the Kohliseum.

Erika said...

"Puns are little plays on words that a certain breed of person loves to spring on you and then look at you in a certain self-satisfied way to indicate that he thinks that you must think that he is by far the cleverest person on Earth now that Benjamin Franklin is dead, when in fact what you are thinking is that if this person ever ends up in a lifeboat, the other passengers will hurl him overboard by the end of the first day even if they have plenty of food and water."

Tom said...

So I made a pun to my wife that was exceedingly bad and afterward said, no pun intended (to save at least a little embarrassment) to which she responses, "no pun achieved." I married well!

deborah said...

lol MM, that took me a couple seconds.

chickelit said...

Thanks, Ruth Anne, hugs!

I suspect that people who can't stand puns are pretty snooty look down their nose types. That's why I cut and pasted the puns by Christopher Hitchens--to point out to some of the high-minded so-called language experts around here that even quality minds engage in puns. I remember my wife laughing hysterically at some of Hitchens' collected puns--really an email game he played with friends--published after his death in Vanity Fair.

deborah said...

I've made note more than once of chick's mad word-play skillz...all hail the pun meister :)

EMD said...

Asian immigrant only man Hmong men?

EMD said...

Blind tailor a real prick?

chickelit said...

Aww, you're a favorite of mine, deborah.

deborah said...

Ditto :)

Foobarista said...

Use a pun, go to prison.

Penny said...

Really would like this to be the punultimate comment for this thread.

Make my day!

Shana said...

So now I am making myself crazy trying to get MM's Swiftie. I need coffee.

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

Shana, how would Elmer Fudd say the word crypt?

Shana said...

Oh ho! Thatk you, MM. I wouldn't have been able to sleep tonight. :)

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

The favored pastime of making puns was replaced with semantic games. For example, a pun, progressive corruption (PC), was replaced with a semantic game, politically correct (PC). I prefer the pun as it is a more reliable descriptor of intent embedded within a rhetorical expression.