The Telemachus Press Blog


You may not know what it’s called, but you’ve heard it all before.  Some of the best satire originates with a malapropism, the misuse of similar sounding words.  George W. Bush was the king of malapropisms, so much so that the word “bushism” was born.  Dan Quayle was a close second.  There are myriad celebrity malapropisms.  More on this later. 

When I was a young mother I held a job as an assistant in the contract negotiations office for a large organization.  A very important negotiator (at least in her eyes) berated me in front of forty fellow employees.  “What don’t you understand about providing me with the saline points?”  She repeated it over and over, each time in a louder voice, becoming increasingly frustrated.  I, in the meantime, was desperately trying to figure out what salt (saline) had to do with anything.  Of course, she meant salient.  Eventually, she stormed from the office muttering, “The stupid people I have to deal with every day.”  She never figured it out; but I did, as did the many colleagues who had overheard.     

I read a hilariously funny book recently.  The main character was a witness in an important murder case.  The lawyer for the defense had prepped this witness endlessly.  The witness was called, he was sworn in and then he vigorously stated that he wanted to recant his story.  The lawyer’s jaw dropped.  The witness was supposed to say, “Your honor, if it pleases the court, I want to recount my story.”  They lost the case.

Earlier I mentioned celebrity malapropisms.  Here are a few of my favorites:  

"Oftentimes, we live in a processed world, you know, people focus on the process and not results." U.S President George W. Bush, May 29, 2003

“The police are not here to create disorder; they’re here to preserve disorder.” Chicago Mayor Richard Daly, August, 1968

 “Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.”  Vice President Dan Quayle, October 10, 1988


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