Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Catch 22

“Novelist Joseph Heller in Catch-22 reveals how little bits of language can mean a lot. His famous protagonist Captain Yossarian is assigned the tedious job of censoring letters written home from the war front by enlisted men:

‘To break the monotony he invented games. Death to all modifiers, he declared on day, and out of every letter that passed through his hands went every adverb and every adjective. The next day he made war on articles. He reached a much higher plane of creativity the next day when he blacked out everything in the letters but a, an and the. That erected more dynamic intralinear tensions, he felt, and in just about every case left a message far more universal.’

“Yossarian went on, no doubt, to teach postmodern literary theory at Yale.”

—Roy Peter Clark, channeling Joseph Heller,
Poynter Institute word guy, writer and author,
The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English, 2010

• Editorial Comment: As an editor, I have to say that we have too many words anyway.

• You choose, Wise Guy! Bunny Honey or Hemp Horse Sweat?
Ted Pease gets bluffed on NPR’s Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me!Listen here.

For USU and Cache Valley News, visit our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café.

The JCOM Department at Utah State University has opened a national search for a tenure-track professor of public relations and corporate communication. Start date: August 2012. See USU HR link here for full posting and details. Email ted.pease@usu.edu for more information.

PeezPix cards & prints


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