The Pun is Mightier Than the Sword

Here is my latest article for The Imaginative Conservative website. It is my rationale for writing in a Chestertonian style.

It seemed that a style that was deliberately delightful and teasingly torturous was a style that might at once both annoy and enlighten the audience. It was, if you like, the style of a playful and unpredictable prophet. After all, isn’t this what we see with Hosea who marries a whore, Nathan who tells King David a scorpion story with a sting in the tale, or Elijah who flies away on a whirlwind? Indeed, isn’t there a playfully prophetic note in the teaching style of Our Lord himself when he punctures the pompous with his Head-of-Caesar-bearing coin trick, or when he skewers the self-righteous with his, “Let the one without sin among you cast the first stone.” punchline?

If a punchline has a pun, then it could be said that the pun is mightier than the sword. If this is true, then wordplay may be as important as swordplay. The Chestertonian style wakes us up with wordplay, and within the semantic surprise a moment of enlightenment occurs. Chesterton says that “Thinking is making connections.” and Chestertonian thinking consists of making surprising linguistic connections that reveal surprising theological connections.

Go here to read the whole piece.


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