Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The kinds of things sleep-deprived grad students talk about: Last night I was asking a friend whether the title of the TV show "Judging Amy" was a pun or not. Our instinct was to say no. But we decided, like good grad students, to consult ye old OED:

"The use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more meanings or different associations, or the use of two or more words of the same or nearly the same sound with different meanings, so as to produce a humorous effect..."

which proved our point, we thought: "judge" is simply being used as part of two different parts of speech here, not to have different meanings. But the definition finishes:

"a play on words"

which I guess could be anything, so oh well. What would you call something like that then?

Also totally puzzled by the explosion of similar TV/movie titles, like "Crossing Jordan," "Serving Sara," etc. (I can't decide if "Being John Malkovich" counts.) Robin suggested that it was a kind of academic trickle-down effect, since academic books have been having that construction for at least a decade now. (On my bookcase right now, I can see "Mapping the Ethical Turn," "Opposing Poetries," and "Breaking Silence.") In that case, we can probably blame Woody Allen.

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