What do you meme? Wordplay Edition

What do you meme? Wordplay Edition

Ah, the lowly pun! Maligned and dismissed as the lowest form of humor. And yet, to play with the sounds and meanings of words is as old as language itself. No less a savant than Alfred Hitchcock is said to have said: “The pun is the highest form of literature.” Well, boo! 

Wordplay must in fact be a divine preoccupation. The poetry and prose of biblical writers is peppered with paronomasia. 

The first human, ‘adam, is taken from the tillable soil, ‘adamah. The name of the patriarch Isaac is a pun meaning “God laughs.” 

Jesus calls Peter “Rocky” because, well, his name means rock in Greek. His nickname is Cephas because, well, that means rock in Aramaic. You can guess what they called him in Litho-wania.

Add a witticism to an image and you’ve got a wordplay meme. Post it in social media and watch your reputation go viral, or perhaps bacterial. Yes, of the 113,000,000 pun memes assiduously preserved in Google, there are some lamentable examples of first degree linguicide. But the vast majority are entertaining to say the least. 

And of the untold thousands you may scroll through on a typical pandemic evening, you will also be edified by the pedantically instructive specimen, reflecting truth at many levels. “For wisdom is many-sided” (Job 11:6).

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Written by Paul Keim, Contributing Writer

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