By the title of this you may, quite rightly, assume that I have found something else to foam, rabidly, at the mouth about!
As those of my readership who have known me for a long time (and there are, rather surprisingly, an increasing number of people to whom that description applies) will know or remember, playing with words was “the thing” of my school class.
The sub-group of that class that avidly followed the BBC Radio show “I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again!” (ISIRTA) was particularly addicted to puns (one of my former classmates recently referred to us as “Punslingers” and I approve of that) and played happily at twisting words and meanings to comic effect.
I have, often to the despair of colleagues, friends or family, continued to work on what I consider to be a highly intellectual form of humour even though this occasionally results in the joke being killed for me by having to explain it to my audience!
If you aren’t familiar with my particular kind of wordplay I have done a couple of “good ones” here: https://littlealfie.wordpress.com/2010/05/04 and https://littlealfie.wordpress.com/2010/06/08 . I have also written about ISIRTA in several other places – read and enjoy!
So, having established my credentials as something of a master of puns I found listening to the radio this morning somewhat painful!
This was because, however many others have to be explained to them, there is ONE pun that nearly everyone “gets”. It arises from the salutation often used in the “Star Wars” movie franchise “May the Force be with you” and sometime after its’ first utterance in 1977 somebody inevitably noticed the similarity between the first three words and the date “May the Fourth”.
“Yes”, I thought when I first heard it, “that’s a good one” but being a DATE it came around every year and each time a few more people noticed it and found it funny to the point we are at now where it is actually being called “Star Wars Day”. Today’s Radio 2 Breakfast Show was largely given over to children playing the movie theme live on air using a variety of instruments.
A joke, especially a pun, that is repeated too often (and once a year, every year will certainly do it for me!) rapidly ceases to be funny and when it then turns into a “DAY” that has no other connection with a movie than a mis-quote that happens to sound like a date, things have gone a bit too far.
I know that some of you are thinking I am being unnecessarily grumpy about this and setting out to spoil a bit of harmless fun and I would tend to agree with you but for one thing:
When I was a teenager there were not many things that impinged on my little world enough to annoy me: the threat of worldwide nuclear destruction was always there but during my school years I was mostly incensed by the unwanted Government interference in Offshore “Pirate” Radio.
After school but still in my teens, however, I became extremely worried at the United States’ Government’s attitude to protestors about the Vietnam War.
And I wonder, as another 4th May goes by, whether I am being paranoid or unduly cynical in suggesting that said US Government welcomes or encourages the invention of “Star Wars Day” as a way of making the world forget the unarmed protesting students shot at and killed by the National Guard at Kent State University in Ohio on that very date in 1970!
The message I got from that episode was that however enlightened a democracy you may live in, if you disagree with the government strongly enough they do have the power to kill you – and if you fight back YOU are apparently the one breaking the law!
Well, I have never been an American Citizen (I would probably have been killed or injured in Vietnam if I had been), never went to any university and if making us forget is the intention – it isn’t working on ME!
Just thought you should know.