FIRE JOE MORGAN: Does This Mean Anything?


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Does This Mean Anything?

It's time to play no one's favorite game: "Does This Mean Anything?" with Woody Paige.

Simply read one of Woody's complicated, faux-clever, oddly-capitalized pun-tences, and decide whether there is actual, salient, delineable meaning contained therein, or whether it's a smoosh-'em-up of letters which = nothing. Award points based on level of goodness of writing.

Here we go.

Brett Favre committed the Frozen Blunder.

A reference to "Frozen Tundra?" "Blunder" does not rhyme with "Tundra," but it at least has a referent, so I will award Woody .5 of a point.

In Ice Bowl, Too, Favre was neither the star nor a Starr.

I am not sure what rhetorical or stylistic advantage "Ice Bowl, Too" gives you over "Ice Bowl II" or "Ice Bowl Two." It has the appearance of a pun, but it is not, really, anything. Zero points.

"Neither the star nor a Starr" gets a full point, I suppose, though it's pretty lazy.

The Big Chill is not gone from Green Bay.

It was undeniably chilly in Green Bay last Sunday. However, there is no connection that I am aware of between the 2008 Packers-Giants NFC Championship and the seminal 1983 Kasdanian yuppie-celebration "The Big Chill." There is absolutely no reason on earth to cite "The Big Chill" here, and make it seem like it's a clever witticism. Negative 50 points.

The Big Thrill evaporated like a foggy breath in the overtime loss to the Giants.

I don't think there is any such thing as "The Big Thrill." I certainly cannot find any meaning of the term that would lead to it being cited in an article about football, much less in a way that makes it seem like a pun off of "The Big Chill," which itself, again, has nothing to do with football. Unless, of course, Woody is somehow linking the Packers' performance in the 2008 NFC Championship game to the 1989 hard-core porno, "The Big Thrill." Let's see if there is some connection we can draw. I quote from an intrepid IMDb user who has provided a summary:

The "story" revolves around a barber shop where Joey Silvera and Porsche Lynn are the owners, and Nina Hartley, Sharon Kane, Tracy Adams are the barbers, with Peter North as Manuel, the hispanic help. Things are already humid. But when some spanish fly type substance is spilled in the coffee, things really start heating up. Once the effect kicks in, the shop becomes wall to wall sex. It gets going pretty fast, and then there's almost non stop action, with the stunningly gorgeous Nina Hartley, Tracy Adams, and Sharon Kane at the height of their careers.
Huh. I suppose that Woody might have been suggesting that when Favre connected on the 90-yard pass to Driver, it was sort of like when Manuel spilled the spanish fly in the coffee. Then the game got going really fast, and there was non-stop action...but in the end, just like at the end of a hard-core pornographic movie, Packers fans felt depressed, ashamed, lethargic, and angry that they had wasted all that time instead of like reading a book.

Or maybe he was referring to this Axxis album.

Either way: negative 1,000 points.

It should be noted that these first four examples of Woody Paige's overblown fakey non-language were the first four sentences in his article. Unabridged, consecutively quoted.

The Quarterback, who wanted so badly to return to the Super Bowl, passed so badly at the end.

No reason to capitalize "Quarterback," and the rhetorical link between "wanting so badly" and "passed so badly" is a rope of sand, I say! A rope of sand! (Negative 100 points.)

Ultimately, Favre was outplayed by The Other Brother. Eli's certainly coming.

"The Other Brother" marks the sixth consecutive sentence in this article that has employed an archly capitalized non-phrase. And if there is something to "get" involving the sentence "Eli's certainly coming," I don't "get" it. Negative 10 points.

A crowd of 72,740 convened at Lambeau, Two-Below Field.

Seven out of eight, now, with capitalized phrases.

The lights were off, and nobody was home anywhere else in Green Bay.

This is like how a gay British gossip columnist would write about football.

". . . the last pass I threw in this game . . .," Favre said. In this game or this game? This particular game, or this game of football?

Incredibly ironically, the one time he could actually use capital letters, he decides not to. If he had written, "In this game -- or This Game?" he would not have had to repeat the sentiment in the next sentence in order to get his point across. Mind-blowing. Negative ten billion points.

There was no joy in Green Bay and no "v" in Fare on Sunday night.

I swear I have been staring at this for ten minutes and I do not understand it. If "Favre" were spelled "Faivr," and he said "there was no 'v' in Fair," meaning that, like, life isn't fair or something, okay. But what does the word "Fare" have to do with anything? Someone please help me. Negative infinity points until I get an explanation.

(EDIT: see comments. He still gets negative infinity points. I get negative ten for overthinking it.)

Forty years ago, on a similar climatic (weather) and climactic (drama) day, the city was joyous, and the quarterback was victorious.

This makes sense, at least. But isn't anyone else sick of the overwritten, stop-and-go, "The situation was both (x) and (linguistic variant of [x] with wry [y] meaning)" style? Woody Paige's writing style is the literary equivalent of watching "Cloverfield" in the front row while listening to a book on tape of an Oscar Wilde biography. Plus one point for making sense, minus one point for exhaustion.

Here's one that takes waaaaaaay too long to emerge:

Bart Starr, who was captain then and the honorary captain now, sneaked over left guard with 13 seconds left to give the Packers the right to go to the second Super Bowl.

Favre, who has come through so many times for the Packers over the years and this season, was through after the interception. They had no right in Super Bowl XLII.

You have to work really hard to understand that last sentence. It appears to most normal readers that he is missing the words "to be" after "right." Except that you forgot that the man is incapable of writing anything without like forty puns/linguistic trickeries, and is bouncing the word "right" off of the deadened trampoline of the word "left" in the previous paragraph, which itself was used as the A in the A-B link-up of "left"-"right" in that very same paragraph. Negative fifty jabillion points.

He indicated that for the Packers and their Backers, "Everything had fallen into place, and "all that was left was to play the game." They didn't figure on the Giants. And the Packers fell out of grace.

At this moment I am seriously considering legal action against Mr. Paige, the Post, the citizens of Denver, and Johann Gutenberg.

1. The quotation marks are just all kinds of wrong here.

2. "their Backers" = why capitalize this?

3. What does "And the Packers fell out of grace" mean?

Most of America, outside of New York and New Jersey, planned to go to bed Sunday night dreaming about a Packers-Patriots Super Bowl, but barely could sleep after their night of the Living Dread.

"Night of the Living Dread" only makes sense if you believe that everyone wanted the Packers to win, which, I don't know, did they? And also: stop capitalizing things. Negative five.

Don't pity the Pats. They did their job, although not very efficiently.

Why would anyone pity them?

So it's New York and Boston. It's actually Foxborough, Mass., vs. East Rutherford, N.J., but this is not a geography class; this is the Super Bowl.

You're the one who wrote that. You're the one who named the actual cities they play in. Then you got angry. That makes no sense.

New England: The perfect team in a pluperfect land.

What the fuck are you talking about? Or, in the pluperfect tense: "What the fuck had you thought of before you sat down at your computer, drunk, and wrote this?"

New York: The imperfect team with an improbable run.

And the Packers, as the Chargers before them, were not cool in the cold. Especially Brett Favre.

As if this sums up the whole mess, somehow.

Final score: negative infinity. Another record.

Labels: , , ,

posted by Anonymous  # 7:26 PM
Addenda and Errata:

Many of you have already written in to suggest that "Eli's coming" is a reference to a Three Dog Night Song of the same name. Thank you. And thank you as well to point out that the song is about an inveterate womanizer, making the reference even less applicable.

Also, immediately after publishing this, I understood that in the phrase "There's no 'v' in fare," the "no 'v'" part was in reference to Favre not getting the "v," or "victory." I still think it's odd that he writes "Fare" instead of "Favre." It makes it seem like the word "Fare" is important. I guess I overthought it.
James says -- astutely, I believe --

I think. THINK. The "pluperfect" reference has to do with the old (OLD OLD) joke about someone visiting New England for the first time and asking a cab driver where "you can get scrod around here." Answer: "I've been asked that many times, but never before in the pluperfect subjunctive."

Actually, it's kind of a cute old joke. Percentage of readers who have an outside chance to get the reference: .00021. I don't think Woody cares.

I first heard that joke many many years ago, though I heard it as an old man talking to a hooker on the Green line near Copley Square. If Woody is actually referencing this bit of Boston arcana, he gets one billion points.
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