"Plume in his vestments"

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Fri May 15 16:21:42 UTC 2009

I actually thought the plume thing was pretty cute. Immediately sensing the
"plume of smoke" usage cited below, I mentally saw this priest's clothes
rather billowing under his parachute and got a good chuckle out it. If it
were a cartoon, our hero would not even need a parachute, of course. His
vestments would instantly billow - VOOMP! - and he would float to Earth,
swaying slightly, back and forth, on the way down. This is almost what
happens in the book since, in the book [spoiler alert?], he is not under a
parachute at all but is cartoonishly hanging on to the corners of piece of
canvas that sufficiently slows and directs his fall so that he lands safely
in a river rather than splattering on some inappropriately hard surface.
This is patently impossible but can be attributed to a number of factors,
such as: miracle, poetic license, bad writing, others. Anyway, I thought the
reviewer's usage was cute and appropriate. I wonder if it was on purpose...
PS: On the other hand, isn’t it pluming that is eternally about to happen to

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Arnold Zwicky
Sent: Friday, May 15, 2009 10:57 AM
Subject: Re: "Plume in his vestments"

On May 15, 2009, at 6:22 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> From the review by Wesley Morris of the movie "Angels & Demons", "g"
> magazine, May 15, 2009, page 7, col. 1:
> "OK, no movie whose climax includes a man of God plume, in his
> vestments, from the sky with a parachute is entirely serious."
> Either seriously asyntactic, or very clever (but still asyntactic)?

there is an intransitive verb "plume" (a verbing of the noun "plume",
as in "plume of smoke"), but i can't make that work in this context.


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