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Puff Piece: Baraita

Arthur Hlavaty, who has an actual weblog, linked to The Gashlycrumb Torah, which is as funny as you might expect. However, the blog that contains it, Baraita, turns out to be astoundingly good when just writing, blog-like, about what the bloggist thinks. Talking about sitting with the Seven Shepherds of Israel in the messianic Sukkah made from the carcass of the Leviathan. Talking about the annoyances of Kol Nidre at Congregation Beth Boondoggle. Talking about kashering her kitchen with a blowtorch (“Muahahahahahahaha. I mean, shanah tovah.”). It’s all good.

chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,


Parodies of The Gastlycrumb Tinies, much like Parodies of Dr Seuss but maybe a tiny bit less so, should scan, for cryin' out loud. It's worse with Dr Seuss, but it's pretty appalling here too. (sigh)

A is for Anderson, shot by a man
B is for Beth, who writes poetry that just doesn't scan

/me dies

More generally (not so much particularly about the Tinies pastiche at hand), it seems to me that a fair number of people (including some very smart people) just can't hear stress patterns accurately. Ask them which syllable(s) is (are) stressed in a given word or other utterance, and they won't be able to tell you. Somehow rhyme seems to be a lot easier for people to understand than scansion.

I used to see this a lot in filks (I don't see so many filks these days, but I imagine it still happens), and it's definitely common in Seuss parodies. For that matter, it's fairly common in popular songs to have the right number of syllables but the wrong stresses; in music, you can re-stress all sorts of words and nobody will notice.

Well, and the author says "That won't scan" just before she starts. Not that Mr. Gorey's Tinies scan perfectly (the only real clunker is G). Samech is bad, and Tzadi (although it's worth it), but the others work fine for me, given that Hebrew doesn't conform to English stresses.
And it isn't just fairly common to change stress in singing, it's expected. Not just in popular songs, but in, oh, Opera, choral music, liturgical music, and I would guess just about any singing.
In one of the Fry&Laurie Jeeves&Woosters, Laurie/Wooster is attempting to sing "Puttin' on the Ritz" and can't get the lines to work at all. Fry/Jeeves suggests putting the stress on if, blue, you, where, and go. It makes no sense, but it makes the rhythm work.

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