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Mixed Feelings about Puns

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What happens when a clock gets hungry? It goes back four seconds. Martha talks about how puns weren’t always considered “bad.” Cicero praised them as the wittiest kind of saying, and Shakespeare made plenty of them, for both serious and comic effect. In the early 18th century, though, things changed. Pamphlets with titles like “God’s Revenge Against Punning” began appearing, and the great lexicographer Samuel Johnson denounced them as “the last refuge of the witless.” This is part of a complete episode.

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