On Fake News
A Letter from Associate Editor Mikael Thompson
Continuing with the rather too on-the-nose and grotesquely range-of-the-moment pandering to attention-deficit, range-of-the-split-second loungers in the sty of recent events,1 it has recently been brought to our attention that the publishing world is being roiled, broiled, boiled and soiled by mainstream vendettas against the monthly bulletin of the American Fine Arts Appraisers Union Counterfeit Detection Board, Fake News. While this journal has long been a thorn in the side of any number of prominent art dealers, the sudden expansion of this publication from a mean of 5 pages per issue to a minimum of 275 pages in the past six months has sent shock waves throughout the art world. Matters came to a head rather like a blister on a pustule with last month’s announcement that the Mona Lisa was not painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, but rather by a different painter, also born in Florence in 1452, who also died in Amboise in 1519 after a lifetime of filling up secret notebooks that, when viewed in the mirror and read as Classical Ge’ez, provide a complete exposition of X-bar theory, which caused the ongoing controversies to spill over from the parochial and provincial precincts of art collectors and museums to ruffle the formerly untroubled surface of the smooth-flowing if noxiously polluted Charles River.2
Luna Filipović & Martin Pütz (eds.), 2016, Endangered Languages and Languages in Danger: Issues of documentation, policy, and language rights, John Benjamins.
Chiasmus of the Month
The controversy only raged further and hotter when a leading7 publication opposed to the RIAA and its policy of studiously ignoring everything outside the mainstream that it cannot suborn, subsume, and submise, Alternative Facts, was caught going far beyond its usual practice of payola at college FM radio stations8 to announce that if you played Lionel Richie’s Can’t Slow Down backwards at 45 RPM, followed by Toto IV and the complete studio discography of Air Supply in chronological order up to Across the Concrete Sky, the complete text of The Generative Enterprise Revisited can be heard.
As a result, a consortium of mainstream journals led by Language, Linguistic Inquiry, and Lingua9 has announced the establishment of a voluntary industry-wide quality control board, the Shibboleth Gatekeeper’s Union for Truth, Justice, Motherhood, Apple Pie, Lexicalism, Obligatory Contours, and the American Way, to crack down on such nefarious practices. “The charges in this hatchet job strain credulity and fall apart under their own weight,” said SGU(TRUJMAPLOCAW) spokesanimate D. Vendible Bead regarding the revelations published in Fake News. “Even if they were true, which they’re not, I would remind you that Ge’ez, according to all our reference materials, is not English and therefore theoretical linguists don’t know it, so the implication is false and malicious.” When presented with the response of Fake News editors Jay Trones and E. Theist Lark that Chomsky did his dissertation on Hebrew, which by his own testimony is underlyingly identical with Ge’ez, Bead yawned dramatically and changed the subject: “I would also remind you that anyone with a PhD in theoretical linguistics has musical tastes far too refined to listen to 80s pop without projectile vomiting, so the implication is false and malicious.” When then presented with the response of Alternative Facts editors Sleith Kater and Joy E. Stern that this was just another example of tenured faculty stealing the results of graduate students, Bead yawned even more dramatically and said, “Why would tenured faculty have anything to do with poorly educated, taste-bereft, and generally smelly functionalists?” before turning off the microphone. Later that day, SGU(TRUJMAPLOCAW) sought a court order enjoining the publication of any linguistics-related statements not approved by the new Editorial Hygiene Board of SGU(TRUJMAPLOCAW).
Therefore, we at Speculative Grammarian, in unwelcome but enforced union with our brethren and sweostren at Fake News, Alternative Facts, The Philological Weekly, and Journal of the American Medievalists Guild10 join in challenging such a blatant, arrant censorship! Do you want to say to your children in your land of exile that first they came for the art appraisers, but you did nothing because painting has been in decline since Rogier van der Weyden, then they came for the alt-music scene, but you did nothing because you were too busy listening to a recent boxed set of Latvian viola concertos? If this oppression is not stopped, it will soon be the turn of the functionalists—not the functionalist turn, mind you, which will still happen any day now.
1 We note in passing the controversy over said editorial raging in the somewhat inner but not inmost sancta of SpecGram Towers, with some calling it much-needed reform and others a base truckling to knuckleheads for spurious advantage. The latter point out that the most recent previous political satire our editorial staff has considered, a spirited satire on the death of Henry II and election of Conrad II as Holy Roman Emperor, has consistently been voted down in the past as, well, a base truckling to knuckleheads for spurious advantage, so there. Their opponents, curiously, agree 100% and add, so there!
2 Given that it’s frozen this time of year,3 that shows just how troubled matters have become.
3 And you really don’t want to put any of those ice cubes in your scotch.4
4 Some of us would rather have the ice cubes, thank you.5
5 Some of us are welcome to them. There are drinks besides Pabst Blue Ribbon and Mad Dog 40, you know.6
6 Only if you expand the reference of “drink” to include undrinkables.
7 Leading in the sense of questions, not stature.
8 It has long been charged that DJs have been given completely punched coffee cards in return for playing the latest CDs from certain record companies at 1 AM instead of 3 AM.
9 Or maybe Glossa.
10 Be sure to check out the article in next month’s issue of JAMG by its Managing Editor Sprill Buiell on a recently unearthed manuscript containing a satire in arguably passable Pig Latin on the end of the Ottonian Dynasty and the start of the Salian Dynasty. The JAMG editorial staff has declared it the funniest thing they’ve read in or about the medieval era since the works of Smithywallop and Parterre and C.S. Lewis’s Studies in Words.11
11 JAMG Editor in Chief Artemis Zinayda Butts added, “Funny-strange, not funny-funny.”