Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hear ye, hear ye.

Dear Satirists, Editorialists, Columnists and Punditrists the world over,

Please take note that I am officially imposing a worldwide Orwell's Picnic ban, a global prohibition, if you will, on the use of the expression, "a modest proposal" in any editorial piece on any subject whatever.

There can only be two causes for the use of the term and both are completely inexcusable and either way you will cease from this point forward.

Either you want to invoke the memory of Swift and are attempting to grab some of his coolth for yourself, or you have somewhere heard the phrase "a modest proposal" and somehow vaguely associate it with clever editorial writing and have used it out of ignorance of Swift.

If you are doing the first thing, then you are just a plain old copy cat. You aren't cool or smart and even if every "modest proposal" thing you write suggests eating the people who are causing whatever trouble you are writing about, you are still just trying to ride his 200 year old coat tails. If you can't think of your own funny outrageous stuff to write then you should give up and face the fact that you are really just a dull unimaginative person who has no business writing and who should have been a chartered accountant.

If you have used the phrase for the second reason, you need to stop writing immediately and start reading books.

Both reasons are inexcusable and unacceptable, but it doesn't matter either way because now that this prohibition is in place, even if you have some other reason, the use of the phrase in any editorial writing whatsoever will result in the immediate dispatch of an authorised Orwell's Picnic agent to your home with a rolled-up newspaper which shall be applied smartly to the end of your nose.

So let it be written, Ayy-men.



Ben Whitworth said...

As Rick Perry would say, 'Oops.'

Anonymous said...

How does one get to be an authorized Orwell's Picnic agent (TM)? Are there franchise opportunities?


Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

One of the first things to do, R, is to follow the rules. Can you show me some form of identification showing that your mother gave you the name Romulus?

I do not allow anonymous posts or obviously made-up names. Please see the commbox rules posted to the sidebar.

Felix said...

Hilary, perhaps you could be ecumenical and also persuade the Grand Mufti to issue a fatwa on such pretentious behaviour.

Ingemar said...

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a baby sandwich with my name on it waiting for me.

Fr. Hair-Tonic said...

Spot on.
I think the same interdict ought to be applied to the teeth-grindingly obnoxious habit of a certain crowd of Novus Ordo pop bloggers who think that writing anything in the vein of The Screwtape Letters is both the height of wit and automatically wins the argument.

Anonymous said...

I blame the widely-adopted but Protestant-in-origin habit of insisting on teaching women to read and write. - Karen

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...


me too.