Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Scatalog* (for Scatology, etc.)

The New Yorker once reported that the funniest joke in the world* was the following one: What's brown and sticky? (Answer: A stick!) What makes this joke so utterly perfect, it seems, is that it contains two K's (K is apparently a very funny letter), it deals in wordplay, and it appears to be scatological in nature (and then upends that expectation). There are 11 cases of Scatalog* in OhioLINK, probably because people are fastening onto the "uh" sound and forgetting about the root word: scatology. Notably, a few of these are for titles containing the word scatalogue, which may be an intentional neologism rather than an actual misspelling. (The Urban Dictionary defines scatalogue as "a piece of media focused on a topic so awful, that only equally awful people of that grouping will buy it" or "a catalogue featuring items that no-one in their right minds would buy, lest they are arrested by the Taste Police.") The stick took a break from poking someone's eye out this year in order to be inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame (where it joined 2005's cardboard box and a slew of rather more commercial playthings). Sticks are classic, biodegradable, and free (they literally grow on trees!) and, besides, giving one for Christmas would be a good way to stick it to the one who always cheaps out on your gift.

*Well, perhaps not exactly, but it was a very popular contender in an online "global humor study."

(Pic of a stick at the THoF induction ceremony, from BoingBoing.)

Carol Reid

No comments: