Not Saussure

December 6, 2006

Stupid things to say

Filed under: press — notsaussure @ 11:12 pm

Not quite as stupid as my agreeing to cover for someone this week, which has turned into a bit of a rash move — hence the light posting, though things should be back to normal early next week — but getting close to it:

Via Slate, what they regard as the most stupid single sentence to appear in The New York Times in decades:

It’s in a news story by Holli Chmela about the Kennedy Center Honors, an annual ceremony recognizing lifetime achievement in the performing arts. One of this year’s winners was Andrew Lloyd Webber. Here is the sentence:

Mr. Lloyd Webber is often referred to as the Shakespeare of his time with musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera.

As they say, leaving aside the strangeness of the aesthetic comparison, Shakespeare was a poet and playwright while Andrew Lloyd Webber is a composer, and when comparisons between the two do occur, they tend to be of the ‘everything from Shakespeare to Andrew Lloyd Webber’ variety; how often has anyone actually heard someone refer to ‘The Shakespeare of our time, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’? About as frequently as you hear references to Athens as ‘The Edinburgh of the South,’ I suspect. Slate managed to find one example, in the form of a comparison between both men’s business acumen.

Whatever next? ‘Melanie Phillips is often referred to as the Wittgenstein de nos jours’ ? Margaret Beckett, often referred to as the Bismark of our age’ ?



  1. I don’t watch much television, but I treasure the memory of an interview some years ago with Julian Lloyd Webber, the cellist. Asked if he ever played his brother’s music he replied, “Well, I suppose you can call it music.”

    Comment by chris y — December 7, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

  2. Hmmm, do we know how many tons of water Margaret Beckett displaces when fully stocked with ammunition for her 15″ guns?


    Comment by Skapusniak — December 7, 2006 @ 3:36 pm

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