Our readers–curious souls, all of you–often ask us: why is a pun the lowest form of humor?
Well, I’ll tell you: It’s because–much like the French–they are pointless and cruel. These days it’s hard enough just to be understood, hard enough to mean or say anything at all that doesn’t come back to you warped, mangled, ruined, as if your life had been backtranslated by Babelfish. Everything means too much already, and the pun is just a vulgar reminder, the semantic equivalent of a fart.
Failed talk is heartbreaking. But still: we sometimes get these messages at the Miltonian office. I want to tell you about them. They’ve been made by some robot deep in the heart of the internet, constructed at random from the Web’s pedestrian static.
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At first it sounds like a crappy anticapitalist language poem, remainders from Charles Bernstein’s recycling bin, but then suddenly it’s got to go and break our hearts at the end. It’s like a pun in reverse: bursts of sudden humanity from the robot void.
Well, it’s amazing.