Friday, March 13, 2009

Chutzpah in a Single Sentence

Given my use of adjectives such as "frivolous," it should be clear to most readers that I do not take the content of Chris Matyszczyk's Technically Incorrect blog for CNET News particularly seriously. As I observed when dropping my accusation of frivolity, I use it primarily as a pointer to far more substantive (and usually interesting) content. I may not make much of what Matyszczyk says; but I shall defend to the death his right to read the right stuff, as long as he gives me good pointers to what he is reading! A penchant for frivolity, however, can often lead to excess; and that excess can boil over into chutzpah. Such was the case in yesterday afternoon's Technically Incorrect post, leading me to consider giving a Chutzpah of the Week award for a single sentence:

Like teenies snorting a particularly zippy strain of coke, we have grabbed the Web and slipped our tongue down its throat without for one tiny second considering the longer-term consequences of our snogging.

For all of my own efforts to reflect soberly on both our aversion to thinking about consequences and our dispensations for addictive behavior, while addressing the role of Internet technology in promoting such behavior, I have to set my sobriety aside in stunned awe of that sentence. It was one of those I-can't-believe-I'm-reading-this moments, which I may not have experienced in its full glory since my adventures with Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn. From a purely rhetorical point of view, this veritable flood of tropes, argot, and innuendo leaps over the top in a single bound; and that outrageous leap gets right to the spirit of true chutzpah. So, yes, a single sentence can win a Chutzpah of the Week award. My only concern is that the award will encourage the author to outdo himself in future posts!

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