Archive for the ‘Quotation’ Category

Ostentatiously playful allusions

May 18, 2019

(OPAs, for short.) The contrast is to inconspicuously playful allusions, what I’ve called Easter egg quotations on this blog. With three OPAs from the 4/20/19 Economist, illustrating three levels of closeness between the content of the OPA and the topic of the article: no substantive relationship between the two (the Nock, Nock case), tangential relationship (the Sunset brouhaha case), and tight relationship (the defecate in the woods case).

The three cases also illustrate three degrees of paronomasia: the Nock, Nock case involves a (phonologically) perfect pun; the Sunset brouhaha case an imperfect pun; and the defecate in the woods case no pun at all, but whole-word substitutions.

I’ll start in the middle, with Sunset brouhaha. But first, some background. Which will incorporate flaming saganaki; be prepared.

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Where are you going with that?

April 30, 2019

The One Big Happy from 4/3, recently in my comics feed: the tough neighborhood kid James and his sledgehammer:

(#1)

What I hear in the first panel is an echo of a quotation with an ax, not a sledgehammer:

‘Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

One of the great first lines in English literature, just grips you right off, does E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.

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The Easter egg in the salt mine

April 22, 2019

From the 3/30/19 issue of The Economist, in “Reflecting on past sins” about “the clamour to return cultural treasures taken by colonialists” (from Africa), this photo on p. 62 (as captioned here), presumably included to  illustrate the cultural, political, and legal issues involved:


(#1) Getting back to where it once belonged.

First, there’s the photo in #1. What does it show? Why this picture — are we supposed to recognize the elements in the picture, or is it just intended as a generic representative of a certain type of situation or event? And what is it doing in a story on the restitution of African art objects removed by colonial powers (mostly in the 19th century)?

Then there’s the Easter egg quotation in the caption, from the Beatles’ song “Get Back”. That’s what caught my eye first (unsurprisingly, given my interests in ludic language in general, and Easter egg quotations in particular), but then I cast a puzzled eye on the photo itself.

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Easter egg quotations

April 13, 2019

[The body of this posting vanished from WordPress on 4/23/19. Below is a summary of its content, without most of the original bells and whistles; when I finished the 4/13/19 posting, I deleted the files of background material for it, and I no longer have the heart to reconstruct it all. (By some software freak, the comments from the original posting were preserved.)

If you’re looking for my posting about Louis Flint Ceci and Magrittean disavowals, that’s “A Ceci disavowal” at:

https://arnoldzwicky.org/2019/04/24/a-ceci-disavowal/ ]

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Larkin and the Gray Lady, again

May 17, 2017

I’ve been on break from remarking on some of the obsessions of the New York Times — its periodiphilia, its taboo avoidance, and so on — but I’m moved to return to the second of these topics because the Gray Lady has managed to reproduce, in deail, one of its previous encounters with taboo vocabulary, a tussle with poet Philip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse”.

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Quotative all lives!

March 15, 2017

Today’s Frazz, by Jef Mallett:

The substance of the strip is entertaining in itself, but here I’m interested in quotative (be) all, in

Mrs. Olsen was all, “I can’t …”

Research a few years back suggested that this quotative, which once was widespread among young speakers in the U.S., was receding fast, in favor of quotative (be) like. But here it is in the mouth of 8-year-old Caulfield (Frazz himself is 30). Well…

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Grammar nazi on the loose in the library

October 15, 2016

The Unshelved cartoon from the 12th, passed on by Betsy Herrington on Facebook:

The GN takes a truly extreme (One Right Way) position that like can be only a verb, a bizarre view that results in her seeing the library poster as being incorrectly punctuated. (Ok, when in doubt, blame it on the punctuation.) She doesn’t even recognize the preposition use (Which one of these things is not like the others?), not to mention the many uses of like that are set off intonationally in speech and consequently should be punctuated with a comma — no doubt she dismisses these as simply incorrect, “not English” — in particular, quotative like (I asked when she was going, and she was like, “In a minute”) and discourse particle, or discourse marker, like, as in the library’s poster.

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November 11th, 2014

August 25, 2016

… was a banner day for cartoons in the New Yorker. Waiting a few minutes to get called in for routine blood tests at the Palo Alo Medical Foundation this morning, I chanced upon this particular issue of the magazine and found five cartoons of interest for this blog (plus some others I enjoyed but had no special interest here); all five were from artists already familiar on this blog.

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A forest of symbols in a time of love

February 14, 2015

Vatentine’s Day sets off an avalanche of greeting cards, from the sloppily sentimental through the joking — lots and lots of puns — to the off-color and the openly insulting. Just about any emotion you can imagine can be packaged into a Valentine’s Day card. Here’s one from a friend to me this year, with a pun (“Love you a bunch!”) and a penguin: “just a bit twee”, the sender wrote, but adding in mitigation that at least it had a penguin:

(#1)

And then we get this remarkable object, a veritable forest of sexual imagery:

(#2)

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Quotative moments

February 7, 2015

Yesterday, Geoff Pullum posted an xkcd strip citing Patricia Cukor-Avila on “quotative like“, I linked to it, and lots of people on Facebook were impressed by the concept. So here a few words about quotative constructions, beginning with a wonderful exchange in a song from the 1996 album Love Is Dead by The Mr T Experience:

I’m like “Yeah”
but she’s all “No”
and I’m all “Come on baby, let’s go”
and she’s like “I don’t think so”

(with the quotative elements bolfaced). The guy and the girl go back and forth between quotative like and quotative all in their bargaining.

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