Inner Prescriptivism

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Dec 4 22:36:40 UTC 2005

Since your version is even more grotesque, Larry, I will assume provisionally that it is a later development.

  When elephant jokes got started about 1963, they were whimsical and harmless.  Grape jokes followed, equally innocuous, I believe.  Next came "Tom Swifties," which took a turn for the diabolical.  The dead baby jokes showed up a few years later, truly stomach-turning.

  Next, post-apocalypse films, splatter cinema, ultraviolent strutting rap lyrics, blood-drenched video games....

  You see where I'm going with this, right ?


Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Laurence Horn
Subject: Re: Inner Prescriptivism

>For the historical record, I heard that one in NYC in 1964-65. At
>that time, though, Ernest was not dead.
> JL
>Michael McKernan wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: Michael McKernan
>Subject: Re: Inner Prescriptivism
>Dennis R. Preston wrote
>>the discovery of a closet preference for dead
>>white European male authors
>Can't help but be reminded of the infamous 'Tom Swiftie' which ends:
>'....said Tom, only half in dead Earnest.'
>Michael McKernan

Only half? Hmmm. I can't quite drag that one back into memory,
although I seem to recall another Swiftie along the lines of

"OK, so I'm a homosexual necrophiliac", said Tom, in dead earnest.

No specific E(a)rnest in mind there, though.


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