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July 11, 2004

Charles Krauthammer And William Shakespeare: Is There A Difference?

If you're a writer, it's a good thing not to understand what words mean. Any high school English teacher will tell you that. You have to not understand what words mean, or else you won't be able to use language in a way that's vague and confusing.

Not understanding words is a particular strength of Charles Krauthammer. For instance, here's something he wrote in a recent column:

The week after the [Sept. 11] attacks, the late-night comedy shows went dark -- and upon returning to the air they were almost apologetic about telling jokes, any jokes, ever again. Today, [Michael] Moore produces a full-length film parody of Sept. 11 and its aftermath.

The problem here is that "parody" doesn't mean "something that mentions something else and also has jokes in it." If that were so, Fahrenheit 9/11 would also be a parody of the 2000 elections, the PATRIOT Act, George Bush, and the invasion of Iraq.

Instead, this is what "parody" means:

1. a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule

So... is Krauthammer saying Fahrenheit 9/11 closely imitates the style of the terrorist attacks? Or that it is ridiculing the author, ie, Al Qaeda? Or... maybe something else? Who the hell knows! It's vague and confusing and nonsensical! And that's why Charles Krauthammer is the greatest writer alive today.

Posted at July 11, 2004 12:55 PM | TrackBack

Humorlessness is a tool of the state! True resistance must be found in laughter!

By the way, no matter how many times I tell your comment box to save my personal info, it never does.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko at July 11, 2004 09:09 PM