Friday, December 12, 2008

Weaponized Hyphens

I'll be honest: I don't have a good justification for bringing this up. I could craft one. I could talk about the creative formation of compound modifiers and how hyphens help the reader understand more quickly which words are modifying which. I could talk about language trends in recent years in which such compounds are used to craft insults.

But the truth is, I just remembered a "Simpsons" line and it's making me smile.

The setup: Some Canadians and some Americans are hurling insults back and forth at each other. The line in question came from one of the Canadians. He called the Americans a bunch of "Shatner-stealing Mexico touchers."

Really, did I need to find a way to justify sharing that line? I didn't think so.

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LL Blackwell said...

Dude, Simpsons insults are the best! Actually, lots of labels bestowed by the Simpsons rock, such as this one, that I had made into a license plate frame for my sister's hybrid: "Powered by my own sense of self-righteousness" (see, there's a hyphen there, hence why this is related).

But, well, I need to let you know: I'm a recovering hyphen addict. Too much Emily of New Moon growing up or something. Ten years ago, I would have written "re-covering." Or told you that I had to go to a meeting to-morrow. Pretty much any and all prefixes got hyphenated. Somehow, I finally got over it. Oh, I think it was the copy editors in college...

June Casagrande said...

Ah, yes. The Ed Begley, Jr., line from the Max Power episode.

Here's another Simpsons insult (April Fool's Day-themed and -hyphenated): "You couldn't fool your own mother on the foolingest day of your life with an electrified fooling machine."

What would I do without them?


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