Word Games

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Upton_O_Goode
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Word Games

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:06 pm

When I lived in England back in 1981--82, I listened to a BBC program called "My Word." It was just a bunch of literate and witty people talking about language and literature. The British public liked this sort of thing (or at least, the proprietors of the BBC thought they did).

One show I remember very well, where a witty guy was challenged to make a particular pun. He came up with the following shaggy-dog story about a "little-known aspect of the Mutiny on the Bounty." Here's the story.

Of course, we all know the awful conditions under which the crew of the Bounty worked. Their rations were reduced to sourdough biscuits and hardtack, and both were full of weevils. They slightly preferred the hardtack, which was the lesser of the two weevils.

But what really provoked them was the pretentiousness of Captain Bligh, who began appearing on deck with a parrot on his shoulder. Even worse, he claimed it wasn't a parrot. He said it was an albatross. Actually, he said its NAME was Albert Ross, and he insisted they call it "Bert."

Well, came the mutiny, and Captain Bligh and his parrot were set adrift in a lifeboat. The chief mutineer, Fletcher Christian, watched them being lowered into the water. Addressing himself to the bird, he said, "Hail to thee, Bligh's parrot. Bert thou never wert."
"How do you teach events that defy knowledge, experiences that go beyond imagination? How do you tell children, big and small, that society could lose its mind and start murdering its own soul and its own future? How do you unveil horrors without offering at the same time some measure of hope? Hope in what? In whom? In progress, in science and literature and God?"

Elie Wiesel

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