Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Paraprosdokians, part 2: Working to ignore

Iiiit's Wicked Wednesday! And have I got a Gem for you!
Well, yes, otherwise there wouldn't be much point in you coming back here three times a week, would there?

As you know, Mondays's post was the first in a week-long special on the linguistic device known as paraprosdokians. As you (should) know by now, these are phrases where the meaning suddenly goes off at a tangent for the final section - there are some more examples here, with an especially good one by the late, great comedian, Bill Hicks.
Julie, of course, has to go one level better. Or several, it's difficult to tell, sometimes. While most paraprosdokians go off at a tangent, Julie's will have tangents that go off at tangents and so forth, ad absurdum.
Don't believe me? Take a look at the following example, one in which I am subjected to several levels of burn...

Talk about 'ouch', although Julie did laugh after she said that, which showed she hadn't meant to say it (and thus qualified it as a Gem). However, there's a small part of me wondering whether some small part of her subconscious had actually thought it. Also sprach paranoia...


Now, back to the teasing. Mr Ambrose Bierce, AKA 'Bitter' Bierce for his fearsome abilities as a literary critic, disappeared in late 1913. Before 'setting off for parts unknown', as his last letter has it, Ambrose saw fit to publish a slim tome known to us as The Devil's Dictionary. 
For a cynic such as myself, this is obviously if great interest to me and I was rather pleased to see in a shop a brand-spanking new copy of this book. Quite by chance, many of the entries work well with this week's Gem theme of paraprosdokians. For example:
Happiness, n: An agreeable sensation arising from the misery of another
See? It's what you would expect, right up until the last three words.
Yes, I'm quite pleased with that find. 
Nope - you're going to have to wait until Friday now. Sorry!