A Few Words About What?

I had my students read and respond to an essay of Nora Ephron’s titled “A Few Words about Breasts” at some point early in semester. Well, now the semester is over and I’m finalizing grades, which means checking my gradesheets against the homework just to make sure everything’s right.

I stumbled once again upon a really funny little  error that totally changed the meaning of the title of one essay. It should have read:

A Few Words About Nora Ephron’s “A Few Words About Breasts”

… except the student seemed to have felt as if the repetition was objectionable (good instinct, really!), and instead came up with this unintended piece of comedy gold:

A Few Words about Nora Ephron’s “Breasts”

… which may not strike one as funny until one thinks of those quotes as “scare” quotes, meant to contest the meaning of the word as it is used in context. Well, if they’re not Nora Ephron’s “breasts,” then what are they? What are we to call them?

Oh no! Now the Black Eyed Peas song that I heard yesterday, while working with my students on the last huge marathon of work on our upcoming graphic novel Goose Dad, comes to mind:

Yes, that’s a remix. The first original version I ran across is “not available in my country.” And which country is “my country”? And why would a Black Eyed Peas video be blocked in Korea? Argh! Big Media is So Dumb. Or is it the Korean government? The original video is unavailable but every remix, plus tons of live shows, are easily available. Just… dumb.

Oh no, wait, maybe it’s just Youtube? The video is available via Dailymotion, which has a Korean localization. (You can see it here, but I’m not embedding it as nobody needs to hear that song twice in a row. Trust me: it’s like something out of an H.P. Lovecraft story.)

Anyway, there you go: now I have another student essay title wobbling through my (yes, feverish) mind:

A Few Words about Nora Ephron’s ‘Lovely Lady Lumps’

… running through my head as the title of an essay likely deserving either of a A+ or an F. (Or both.)

(Yes, feverish: I have a baaaaaad cold. Not deathly, but nasty.)

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