This is just such a superb piece of humor with a light sprinkling of gentle satire that there’s not much to say besides how good it is.1 I enjoyed it greatly the first time I read it and have enjoyed it perhaps a little more each time I’ve read it since; its only possible flaws are (1) paying too much attention to the Boston area and (2) not making nearly enough fun of Hjelmslev, who deserves being made fun of almost as much as he deserves the obscurity of not being made fun of.2
Indeed, the poser is how such a fine piece of work ended up associated with Speculative Grammarian. This is rather like asking why a decent composer like Messiaen hung around Darmstadt, to which I can only say, “Beats me.”3
1 This fit of modesty was rather puzzling until we realized that Thompson must have been inspired by what he read to produce more of his alleged humor and, not wishing to indicate his inspiration and give any (dis)credit to another thereby, he decided to keep mum. —Eds.
2 As Thompson mentioned on a previous occasion that McCawley missed a great chance here to make a joke about Jackendoff and clitics, we can only assume he had decided to save it up for a future submission. Sorry, guy, but face it, it’s funnier this way. —Eds.
3 As opposed to the unnamed and unnamable intern who returned for a second stint, explaining, “Beats me,” with a sick and beatific smile. —Eds.
|SpecGram Vol CLXXI, No 1 Contents|