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."
"Reserve a part of your wrath ; you have not seen the worst yet. You suppose that this war has been a criminal blunder and an exceptional horror ; you imagine that before long reason will prevail, and all these inferior people that govern the world will be swept aside, and your own party will reform everything and remain always in office. You are mistaken."

George Santayana, "Tipperary" (1918)

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