Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From Sniglet to Smugwit

Via Norm Geras' blog, apparently Rich Hall--whom I honestly didn't know was still alive, much less actually working--has a new series about, um, well, I'm not entirely sure, but seems to be a sitcom about deciding to adopt an Old West ethos in modern day England.

Of course, a lot of us who hear this think, "Yeah, England could use a little rugged individualism about now." That could be biting satire--hell, it could be set in the U.S.A., much less centered around England and Wales. But apparently, no. Quoth Hall:

We're at war with Iraq because some bible-thumping, tongue-tied, pretzel-choking f-ckwit of a president actually convinced enough people he was some kind of Gary Cooper hero come to bring justice against evil folks.

Well, we're not really at war with Iraq any more, and haven't been for a long time. And not to point out the obvious, but, y'know, he actually did bring justice against some evil folks.

He's no Gary Cooper, alas, though sometimes he reminds me of the recalcitrant Mr. Deeds. More often, he's Marhsal Will Kane.

Rich Hall's celebrity, at least in America, is almost entirely centered around the "sniglet", defined as "words that aren't in the dictionary, but which should be". This was a mildly amusing concept that took hold enough in the '80s for Hall to slap his name on a bunch of books which, it must be confessed, were composed largely of contributions sent to him. (I'm pretty sure that's the case, and there's nothing wrong with that. Just pointin' it out.)

But, hey, editing a book like that's gotta be nearly as hard as flying a jet or running the nation.

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