Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Some thoughts on puns:

The goodness of the true pun is in the direct ratio of its intolerability.  ~Edgar Allan Poe, Marginalia, 1849

A pun is a short quip followed by a long groan.  ~Author Unknown

A pun is the lowest form of humor, unless you thought of it yourself.  ~Doug Larson

Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted.  ~Fred Allen

When one hears a pun, one feels as though one has been pushed over without one's consent.  ~Graycie Harmon

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.  ~Dave Barry, Why Humor Is Funny

A lurking pun is the worst pun, one the offender has been waiting to spring on you.  ~Harry Mahtar

A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return.  But if a blow were given for such cause, and death ensued, the jury would be judges both of the facts and of the pun, and might, if the latter were of an aggravated character, return a verdict of justifiable homicide.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, 1858

Punning and groaning are brothers.  ~B.F. Tucson

A pun is not bound by the laws which limit nicer wit.  It is a pistol let off at the ear; not a feather to tickle the intellect.  ~Charles Lamb, "Popular Fallacies: That the Worst Puns are the Best," Last Essays of Elia, 1833

A man who could make so vile a pun would not scruple to pick a pocket.  ~John Dennis, 1781

In the pun, two strings of thought are tangled into one acoustic knot.  ~Arthur Koestler

A good pun is its own reword.  ~Author Unknown

I'm an incorrigible punster.  Do not incorrige me.  ~Author Unknown 

If you trip over a pun in your speaking it's not so bad but to intentionally jump on one is a true offense.  ~Graycie Harmon

Puns are the gag hand buzzers of conversation.  It hurts a bit but everyone gets a good laugh out of it.  ~Grey Livingston

People who make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers on the railroad tracks.  They amuse themselves and other children, but their little trick may upset a freight train of conversation for the sake of a battered witticism.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, 1858

A bad pun should be made through clenched teeth - Mary Jackson, New English Review

Posted on 03/11/2008 4:01 PM by Mary Jackson
11 Mar 2008
Hugh Fitzgerald
Most are predictably silly in their pretend-groaning (that by Dave Barry is especially off), but that by Fred Allen isn't bad, and the two most memorable comments, by far, are offered by the same person, Mr. Author Unknown. I have run across his name before, in other contexts, and am more impressed than ever.  Author is someone I'd like to meet. 

11 Mar 2008
Mary Jackson
Perhaps you will meet him anon.

11 Mar 2008
Send an emailHugh Fitzgerald

I wish I'd thought of that.

You've just disproven, incidentally, with your own wonderful example, the thrust of almost all of the comments chrestomathized above. Time and tide wait for no man, especially if that man insists upon not waiting for that time, and on being that tide himself, if you catch my drift and driftwood.

11 Mar 2008
Mary Jackson

I wish I'd thought of that.

You will, Hugh, you will.

Still, when somebody thinks you're wonderful...

11 Mar 2008
Send an emailHugh Fitzgerald

The word "example" was meant by me sensu strictu, taken by you sensu lato. There may be a pun there somewhere, but please don't draw attention to the possibilities. There are children present.

Of course, that sensu lato better fits the title of the song you youtubed. And since that song was written, I see, as a tribute to Fats Waller, I'd like to end this solemn colloquy by giving Thomas Waller -- though Edmund has his points too --  the last word: Ain't Misbehavin'.