On Christopher Hitchens and Puns: Martin Amis

“I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.” -Nabokov

“Mr Hitchens isn’t like that. . .And it may even be that he exactly inverts the Nabokovian paradigm. He thinks like a child. . . he writes like a distinguished author; and he speaks like a genius.”


“The great grammarian and usage-watcher Henry Fowler attacked the ‘assumption that puns are per se contemptible … Puns are good, bad, or indifferent …’ Actually, Fowler was wrong. ‘Puns are the lowest form of verbal facility,’ Christopher elsewhere concedes. But puns are the result of an anti-facility: they offer disrespect to language, and all they manage to do is make words look stupid.”

-Martin Amis



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