Wednesday, September 20, 2006

When Badness is Goodness

Call it the William Hung factor if you like, but it sometimes happens that something can be so downright awfully bad ... that it's actually pretty damn good, and we take it with laughter and sympathy to our hearts.

Sharanya was much tickled by Tom Peterkin's story in the Telegraph about romantic novelist Amanda McKittrick Ros whose contribution to literature is to be commemorated on 26th September at the Celebrate Literary Belfast festival.

Apparently, Aldous Huxley and Mark Twain were among her fans. Inklings C.S. Lewis and Tolkein and their circle of Oxford dons :
competed to see who could read her work aloud for longest before starting to laugh ...
What was so hilarious about her writing? Says the entry in Wikipedia:
Nick Page, author of In Search of the World's Worst Writers, rated Ros the worst of the worst. He says that "For Amanda, eyes are 'piercing orbs', legs are 'bony supports', people do not blush, they are 'touched by the hot hand of bewilderment.'"
Besides melodramatic fiction written in an overblown and aliterative style, McKittrick Ros also dabbled in poetry. A trip to Westminster Abbey prompted this gem:
Holy Moses! Have a look!
Flesh decayed in every nook!
Some rare bits of brain lie here,
Mortal loads of beef and beer,
Some of whom are turned to dust,
Every one bids lost to lust;
Royal flesh so tinged with 'blue'
Undergoes the same as you.
Other candidates for the crown of awfulness include Scotland's great bard of bad verse: William McGonagall and Bulwer- ("It was a dark and stormy night") Lytton.

But is there anyone else you think might fit on the list?


Giant Sotong said...

Nothing beats Pedro Carolino's notorious English "phrasebook".

(There are errors in the links for the Wikipedia entry on Nick Page and William McGonagall)

Ted Mahsun said...

Have you ever visited that portion of Erin's plot that offers its sympathetic soil for the minute survey and scrutinous examination of those in political power, whose decision has wisely been the means before now of converting the stern and prejudiced, and reaching the hand of slight aid to share its strength in augmenting its agricultural richness?


Seriously though, her writing reminds me of a certain local writer... brrr!

bibliobibuli said...

giant sotong - oh yes, "english as she is spoke", a classic

thanks for telling me about the links. it seems blogger sometimes introduces another piece of code in the links when you save them. i ought to check, usually do, but not today

ted - wonder who?? ;-D

snowdrop said...

hahaha, a poem where i can actually understand every line! howbout putting it up on puisipoesy for a good laugh :)

wjfljql said...

"something can be so downright awfully bad ... that it's actually pretty damn good"

this reminds me of susan sontag's very famous notion of 'camp.'

lainieyeoh said...

so is there a mcKittrick fiction contest? :)

Anonymous said...

There's a web equivalent to English as She is Spoke -- it's called babelfish :)

Anonymous said...

Actually if you look at it seems that babelfish is actually better at this sort of thing. In fact, it's so bad it's sometimes better than the original. Take for instance

"Barriga cheia, cara alegre.". As the website says, the literal translation is "A full stomach makes for a content face." ES says
"After the paunch comes the dance" which is funny, but then babelfish says "Full, expensive belly glad" which is both funny _and_ probably true :)

Anonymous said...

Heh.. hey I can do that too.

"Youngbeard looked around, noticing that the sky had turned a very pale shade, something like pink but not quite, shading to red near the end of the horizon (not that he could see the horizon but it would seem that way given the progression of color.) "It's getting dark" he thought. "Too dark. Soon it will be time to move, and I haven't even finished my dinner yet" looking at the half-eaten salmon at his feet.

"I must remember to get more salmon."

(see.. it's easy. :) )

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention -- this seems like yet another attempt to get free stuff to sell :)