[Ads-l] Irish bull: I don't like spinach, and I'm glad I don't, because if I liked it I'd eat it, and I just hate it

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Oct 12 12:54:24 EDT 2017


Those are great, in all the versions.  I’m especially fond of the eels one except it’s missing the punchline (“…et je ne peux pas les souffrir”, “…because I hate the damn things”, or whatever).  

Just in time for my class handout on possible worlds, along with a graffito I’ve been fond of since I first encountered in on a men’s room stall at USC in 1972:

“I wish I could be what I was when I wished I could be what I am.”

Wonder when and where that one got started.

LH

> On Oct 12, 2017, at 10:48 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> Garner's Modern American Usage (2009) by Bryan Garner presents an
> entertaining example of an "Irish bull".
> 
> [Begin excerpt]
> Irish bull. A statement that is incongruous, ludicrous, or logically
> absurd, often unintentionally. Irish bulls are usually found in
> speech, but they occasionally make their way into print. Examples: . .
> .
> 
> I don't like spinach, and I'm glad I don't, because if I liked it I'd
> eat it, and I just hate it. (Clarence Darrow [1857–1938])
> [End excerpt]
> 
> I was asked to explore the remark attributed to Darrow and found a
> French instance written in a private journal by George Sand circa
> 1835: "je serais bien fâchée d’aimer les épinards, car si je les
> aimais, j’en mangerais, et je ne les peux souffrir".
> 
> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/10/09/spinach/
> 
> This is humor for people who struggle with the semantics of possible worlds.
> 
> Feedback welcome
> Garson
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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