Brazen Boobies!--by Reb MacRath

Good morning, class. Our lesson today, for your edification, is on Brazen Boobies. And if you belong in this classroom, you've already started to wonder which sort of boobies we'll discuss.

Do we mean the mammaries that delight the memories of Jan Needle's tribe, the Needle-ites?

Or do we mean nincompoops, also known as boobies? Have you fallen for the sort of misdirection prized by the Kirtonians, founded by Bill Kirton?

Image result for booby fool

If so, take comfort in knowing that the real game has only begun. For now that you're here we can turn to word one. That's right, let's focus on

It's worth a close look for two reasons:
1) Adjectives, like adverbs, are commonly forbidden.
2) Brazen's dual use here lets us to study when adjectives work or do not..

Brazen Boobies #1 will draw in a certain crowd but the phrase is unemployed. We could just as easily write Luscious Tatas or Supremo Patooties.

Brazen Boobies #2 works because it does work. After learning that we've been duped, we're led to smile a second time--because brazen is not a word we've ever coupled with half-wits. We think of ninnies as being loud, vulgar, stupid, common and obnoxious. But brazen? Most of us are ready to read on.

So, class, I implore you. Before joining brazen boobies in the wholesale slaughter of adjectives and adverbs, be guided by your own instincts and taste,

Consider this example:

"Merry Christmas!" he cried happily as he started to swing with the bat.

You could follow the Plain and Proper Nazis, of course, and red pencil that to this:

"Merry Christmas," he said as he swung with the bat.

But the shorter version is no improvement. Stripping the exclamation point and changing cried to said, then--worse still--scrapping happily deprive us of the tone. And now we have only one swing with the bat in order to save syllables. We have to work harder to flesh out the scene--a clear instance of less being less and not more.

Remember: any brazen boobie can red pencil anything out of his work that another brazen boobie could not have easily written.

Dare to bend or break the rules when doing so gives you both pow and


W.H.Auden wrote the only poem I can still quote in its entirety after 50 years. Yes, it's a limerick...but it's also a textbook example of the perfect use of adjectives and adverbs. Combined, of course, with tone, style, rhyme and sass.

As the poets have mournfully sung,
Death takes the innocent young,
The rolling-in-money,
The screamingly-funny,
And those who are very well hung.

The opening elegiac lines set us up for the slaps in the following two. And the last word reveals the ultimate obscenity: death's taking stud muffins with really big dicks.

Auden knew the reaction he wanted--and exactly how to get it.


Jan Needle said…
Ooh, you rude thing! It's too early in the morning for anything good, but you can try these for size if you like. (The last word is an English one, which means 'ass'.)

A Yankee called Two-gun MacRath,
Hoped to send Brits to’t’back o’ the class,
Adjectives, he said wordily
(Or maybe adverb’ally?)
Or perchance he was ’avin a laugh?

A Yankee by name of MacRath
Hopes to teach us the bright shining path.
‘Sesquipedalian adverbs
Can confuse English nerds’ --
Adjectivally he can kiss my sweet arse!
Bill Kirton said…
The creator of cool Boss McTavin
Says adverbs are really worth savin’*
And lauds the survival
Of things adjectival.
Jan says it’s a laugh that he’s ‘avin.

But that’s what Americans do.
They’re different from me and from you.
They big up their looks,
They sell lots of books,
And other things Brits just eschew.

(*By rhyming Tavin with savin’, I’m simply following the lead of the Bard, as in :
If this be error and upon me prov’d
I never writ nor no man ever lov’d.)
glitter noir said…
My word! Outdone by the chief Kirtonian and Needle-ite. Glad you enjoyed the post. Too early in the morning for me to make Mary--er, merry--with a repartee to match
Jan Needle said…
Blow blow winter wind said old Shakes,
Thou weren’t never unkind, for gawd’s sakes.
Unkind or unkind,
A wind’s still a wind,
And bad rhymes for Bill Kirton that makes.

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