Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mayhewianism #7

On my other soon-to-be-retired other blog I used to keep track of "Mayhewianisms", defined as expressions that are characteristic of Jonathan Mayhew's exemplary scholarly persona. Ideally, they are actually written by Prof. Mayhew. They're usually assertive in tone, and have a tendency to draw a line in the sand. They often appear to tell you who you think you are, but really just reveal that Jonathan has a clear sense of who he's talking to. Anyway, I just found an oldish one, not previously noted:

"If that quibble seems too basic to you you are reading the wrong blog."

I think I'll continue the series here at RSL.


Jonathan said...

Not everything I say is one, and I am incapable of producing one to order, or even recognize when someone else will find it to be a Mayhewianism.

Thomas said...

My theory of Mayhewianism is developing. I try to be spontaneous in identifying examples, posting them impulsively when I see one. (There's usually some kind of aesthetic jolt to react to, often it's occasioned by laughter. Always, there's a sort of "Aha! Professor Mayhew, I presume!" feeling when I read the sentence.)

At the moment, I think a Mayhewianism is not just a sentence that establishes your persona in the text. Rather, it is an "epideictic" rhetorical figure that tells us who we are. It's a moment when the implied author addresses the implied reader directly and we come face to face with our shared values.

Jonathan said...

I see it as the moment when, at the end of a post or paragraph, I discover what I really want to say through a slight (or great) hyperbole that breaks through the decorum of communication. I'm sure you understand my egotistic interest in this topic.

Thomas said...

That nails it! A Mayhewianism "breaks through the decorum of communication". And you said you were "civil" ... Ha!