What a fascinating discourse on wordplay, Rick! Thanks for sharing it.
I especially like: "Once you meet the sweet tooth fairy, you will see the touch of her phrase-combining wand everywhere". "The best sweet tooth fairies take a dramatic turn in the middle, merging wildly divergent things: magnetic personality disorder, poetic license plate, and victory lap dance. Some are self-reinforcing: fresh meat market, hard right wing, peer pressure cooker. Others are self-negating: frugal living large, upwardly mobile home, remote control freak, uninvited guest list. For word people, these little phrases offer much the same “aha” satisfaction as that famous optical illusion known as a Rubin vase, which forces first one interpretation (it’s a vase!) and then another (it’s two faces!). By putting words into an unaccustomed double role, they let us see ordinary English words for the truly versatile actors they are." "We all know how illogical and contradictory English can be, but sweet tooth fairies let us turn even the most
banal and familiar parts of our language - sweet tooth, tooth fairy - into something strange and wonderful." Three cheers to Erin McKean !!!
To me Eliot is, indeed, a perfect sweet tooth fairy, a language-phile -- you can see the touch of his word-virtuosic wand everywhere.
For him, though, as he put it, it is essentially a wrestle with words to recover meaning -- to force language into meaning -- "a raid on the inarticulate", "to recover what has been lost / And found and lost again and again".
In that sense, absolutely, Eliot was a Nobel prize fighter !!!
Thanks again and with my best regards,
--- On Wed, 1/27/10, Rickard A. Parker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> During his Harvard years T.S. Eliot
> took up boxing under the tutorledge
> of a man named Sweeney. But we know that Eliot mainly
> fought with his
> demons. It paid off -- he was awarded the Nobel Prize
> for Literature
> in 1948.
> I have a question though. Did that make Eliot the
> world's first Nobel
> prize fighter?
> What is a sweet tooth fairy?:
> Give me a list of 'em: