Saturday, March 31, 2012

Boasting (with Humor) that you are “Severely Patriotic” or “Severely American”; Inducting the Adverb “Severely” Into Your Humor Vocabulary

Recall Mitt Romney’s assertion during a major speech last month (February 10) that he was a “severely conservative” Republican governor….

While Romney was dead serious when he uttered those words—after all, he was desperately trying to woo diehard conservatives—the highly unusual use of the adverb “severely” with such a positive connotation quickly became the butt of jokes, and has been grist for my “humor mill.”

For instance, last week, while introducing someone who shares my concern for the environment, I described her as a “severe environmentalist,” using a panoply of nonverbals to emphasize the word severe, thus drawing laughter from the audience, as intended. And on numerous occasions in the past few weeks, I have jokingly referred to friends as being “severely Democratic” or “severely Republican,” depending on their ideological bent, and praised some as being “severely progressive” or “severely advanced” in their thinking.

Thank you, Mitt, for enlarging my “humor vocabulary”!

© Copyright 2012 V. J. Singal

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