Some people just never get jokes.

Some people just never get jokes. October 30, 2017


Jane by Cassandra
An 1804 watercolor of Jane Austen by her sister, Cassandra
(Wikimedia Commons public domain)
It seems that one of the reasons that I so much enjoy the novels of Jane Austen is that, like Jane, I’m a very prim, proper, and humor-deprived early-nineteenth-century old maid.  Tut tut!


I’m told that the folks at Greg Kofford Books have now corrected their inaccurate quotation of Steve Densley’s Interpreter review of one of their books.  (I’ve been busy in Jerusalem and have just spent roughly thirty hours in airports and on airplanes during my return home, so I haven’t really been paying a whole lot of attention.)


I mentioned the matter twice here on this blog:


“Constructing advertising copy and jacket blurbs: art or science?”


“‘A very important contribution to the study of Mormon theology. . . . marvelous'”


It is currently reported that the misquotation was a joke, a gag, a prank, an incident of trolling.


I wouldn’t know.  Such things are beyond my comprehension.  I’m reliably informed that I have no sense of humor, and that, when I write things with what I wrongly imagine to be my tongue firmly in cheek, I invariably merely reveal my malicious dishonesty and flagrant mean-spiritedness.


It’s all so very difficult to follow!


Roughly a year ago, for example, there were online claims by one writer to have founded both the Interpreter Foundation and Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture.  These claims continued for two or three days.  It seems that Interpreter was wrested away from its true founder and that the truth of his crucial role in its establishment was suppressed by wicked individuals — chiefly by me, of course.  A few days later, however, the witty prankster who made those claims revealed that it was merely a joke or a gag.  Nothing but humorous trolling.


We humor-impaired types totally missed the point, however, as — being both dense and vicious — we commonly do.


I can’t help but be reminded of an exchange that occurs fairly late in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice between Mr. Bennett, who speaks first, and his daughter, Miss Elizabeth Bennett (who, rather like us, I suppose, is notably dim, over-earnest, slow-witted, and, well, “missish”).  Mr.  Bennett has just shared with Elizabeth a letter indicating that, of all ridiculous things, a romantic attachment has developed between her and the prodigiously wealthy and cold Mr. Darcy:


“Are you not diverted?”

“Oh! yes. Pray read on.” . . .

“But, Lizzy, you look as if you did not enjoy it.  You are not going to be missish, I hope, and pretend to be affronted at an idle report.  For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”

“Oh!” cried Elizabeth, “I am excessively diverted. But it is so strange!”



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