Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

The lengths I'll go for wordplay

I come off as kind of a jerk in this story.

From 10th to 12th grade, at James Madison High School in Vienna, VA, I worked on my school's newspaper, the Hawk Talk. Senior year, 1991 to 1992, I edited the Entertainment section, including writing and editing reviews. (Here's what I said about Alien 3.)

That's when the Red Hot Chili Peppers released their album Blood Sugar Sex Magic, and one of our harsher writers reviewed it. He liked it a lot. Here's why I mentioned him being harsh: he'd use harsh phrasing. He jokingly predicted that because of its content and name the RHCP album would "be denounced by Reverend What's-His-Name at the New Unified Church of the Resurrected Holy Thing." My Journalism teacher, Mrs. Webb, asked if I wanted that in the review. She felt it was insulting. Me, who'd long been rather agnostic but not anti-religion, was allowed to make the call whether or not to use the phrase. I allowed it; I found it amusing. While we talked, Mrs. Webb suggested rewriting it to claim a specific religious leader was likely to denounce the album. I disagreed, feeling a) that would be putting words in someone's mouth and b) doing it Mrs. Webb's way wouldn't be funny; but I was letting the review play to a more general stereotype of people who use religion as an excuse to be busybodies. That represents very few of the people I know who are religious, then and now.

I was kind of a jerk to use that.

But I'm amused that I found a really apt way to refer to that line when it would come up in discussion. I called it "the irreverent Reverend reference."

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