One of our readers who had been away for a while yesterday afternoon inquired about a story doing the rounds that we had brought Parliament into disrepute through a headline in The Island. He wanted to know whether there was any truth in the story. We told him that whoever thought so ought to be a real nincompoop who urgently needed some schooling. His inquiry prompted this comment.
Our reader wholeheartedly agreed with us when we told him that if any institution, state or otherwise, had deteriorated so much that children couldn`t visit it any longer because of filth and fisticuffs being freely exchanged by the guardians thereof, some of whom lacked even the basic educational qualifications required for the recruitment of sanitary labourers in the state sector, carried firearms sans permits, committed murder and fraud and abused their privileged position to shower pay hikes and perks on themselves at the public expense, it had the same reputation as a whorehouse and the question of its image being sullied didn`t arise at all. We also pointed out that corrupt administrators through their shady deals with either local or foreign organisations gave such institutions an impetus on their journey down the Gadarene slope. The situation became far worse, we told him, if lonely women happened to be in top positions sleeping and conspiring with privileged stud bulls, who had a penchant for jumping in with both feet to oblige any administrative or secretarial fille de joie, to silence the scribes who exposed their corrupt deals, through intimidatory tactics.
We assured our reader that no journalist worth his or her salt would buckle under political pressure and abandon a campaign against corruption in state institutions, even at the risk of being subjected to kangaroo trials by a herd of anthropomorphous buffaloes disporting themselves in malpractice and malfeasance.
He said he had heard a political turncoat turned ministerial potentate had been so offended by the aforesaid headline that he was after The Island editor`s scalp. We said we were not surprised, given the chronic deterioration of educational standards and that even those who claimed to have attended the so-called big schools lacked proficiency in the English language at least to get a newspaper headline right. We said that such buffoons may have been asked by their respective colleges at a very tender age to `learn or depart` and they had apparently opted for the latter.
Such brouhaha and hullabaloo, we said, stemmed from one`s ignorance of the Figures of Speech in the English language, to wit?for the benefit of political libertines cum charlatans talking drivel in measured tone? irony, simile, metaphor, personification, apostrophe, antithesis, euphemism, hyperbole, oxymoron, epigram, irony, pun, synecdoche, transferred epithet, litotes, interrogation, exclamation, climax, anticlimax and metonymy?a firm grasp of which is a sine qua non for comprehension and writing. Of them, we said, we had employed synecdoche and metonymy?in the headline at issue. Anyone who had little or no knowledge of the Figures of Speech, we pointed out, on reading a sentence like `Forthwith he drank the fatal cup` might think the man had really choked on the cup by attempting to swallow it! or he or she, on being asked, `Have you read Homer?` might mistake `Homer` for a book! (We also made it a point to tell our reader that the best way for a conceited politician to hide the fact that he was a donkey was not to bray in public!)
Our reader finally asked jokingly whether there was anyway of sending the politicians who had manifestly missed their language lessons during school days due to playing hooky or lack of intelligence, back to school or to some good teachers so that they would learn to read at least a newspaper properly.
No decent school, we replied, would touch political morons with a barge pole. We knew some good teachers, we said, but the problem was all of them happened to be ladies. We told the reader that we were wary of recommending ladies to politicians as we didnwant them sexually exploited and driven to self-immolation near ice cream parlours. So, let the Carnival of clowns continue!