May 11, 2005

Professional Help For the most

Professional Help

For the most part, dear reader, the assorted e-mails we receive at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” headquarters are delightful messages of praise, acclamation, and laudation. After all, as pretty much everyone on the World-Wide Web recognizes, dear reader, our humble “website” is the envy of acne-faced twelve-year-olds everywhere.

As we’ve undoubtedly mentioned previously, ours is the kind of “weblog” that men want to be, and women want to be with.

Every once in a great while, however, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quartelry,” come upon a slightly less complementary e-missive. You know the sort of thing we’re talking about, dear reader. An e-epistle that reads something like “You guys suck.” Or, “F*** you.”

Oddly, since such e-mails always contain asterisks, we haven’t any clue what “F***” means. Perhaps we’ll figure it out someday.

Anyway, the few negative reviews our humble “website” receives has given us a certain amount of agitation. We don’t want to come across as a passel of neurotic poofs, but, quite frankly, we’re very troubled. After all, words hurt.

In fact, dear reader, the few negative appraisals of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” that we’ve received have compelled us to improve the quality of our humble “weblog.”

Perhaps it’s impossible to please everyone all the time. But, heck, John Tesh has done it. And if his saccharine pseudo-Muzak can earn the praise of all and sundry, so can “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly.”

Naturally, dear reader, all we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” require is some professional help.

To this end, we hastily got our collective hands on a copy of Humor: International Journal of Humor Research. This fusty academic rag would provide us with the latest advances in rib-tickling hilarity.

Just take in its mad-cap editorial board. The Editor-in-Chief is Salvatore Attardo, a professor of English at the prestigious Youngstown State University. He’s Italian: What could be funnier than that? And check out that last name, for crying out loud! It’s practically screaming for a pun.

Among the eminences on the editorial board at Humor, dear reader, are such doyens of hilarity as Lawrence E. Mintz of the prestigious University of Maryland, and Willibald Ruch of the prestigious University of Zurich. As far as we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quartelry,” are concerned, nothing’s funnier than Switzerland.

Clearly, then, we were in good hands. As such, we hastily turned to an article that would inspire our latent comic geniuses, our inner Redd Foxxes. Luckily, a 2004 number of Humor is home to a zany-sounding article entitled “Lexical and syntactic ambiguity as a source of humor: The case of newspaper headlines.”

Hmmm, we thought to ourselves. That sounds simply uproarious. It’s author—who was clearly employing a humorous nom de plume—is one Chiara Bucaria. Now that’s comedy. The guy’s (girl’s?) mere name is pretty much the nomenclatural equivalent of a Bob Saget routine.

But then we checked out the paper’s abstract, which reads, in part, as follows:

The paper analyzes some forms of linguistic ambiguity in English in a specific register, i.e. newspaper headlines. In particular, the focus of the research is on examples of lexical and syntactic ambiguity that result in sources of voluntary or involuntary humor. The study is based on a corpus of 135 verbally ambiguous headlines found on web sites presenting humorous bits of information. The linguistic phenomena that contribute to create this kind of semantic confusion in headlines will be analyzed and divided into three main categories of lexical, syntactic, and phonological ambiguity, and examples from the corpus will be discussed for each category.

We know what you’re thinking, dear reader: This isn’t terribly funny. In fact, it makes our lesser lucubrations seem downright hysterical.

And so, dear reader, if you ever think we’re lacking in the humor department, we urge you to check out Humor magazine. Your local paper’s obituary page is likely to be funnier.

Posted at May 11, 2005 12:01 AM | TrackBack