Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Taylor Swift, “the sin of wit”, and an “erroneous attribution"

For last week's Taylor Swift session, I discussed wit in "Mr. Perfectly Fine" from "Fearless (Taylor's Version)" (2021). To begin, I quoted Swift: "Swift has the sin of wit, no trivial crime." Several students had written about the song for their 30-second texts due before the session, so I used their comments to start an initial list of the varieties of wit in Swift: wordplay, mockery, and sarcasm. At the end of my presentation, I revealed my own joke, my "erroneous attribution" (Jorge Luis Borges): it was not Taylor Swift but Jonathan Swift who said, in his "The Author Upon Himself" (1713), "Swift had the sin of wit, no venial crime." (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 19 March 2024)

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