Friday, 19 December 2008

An undiscovered play on words

When it came out, I discussed Benjamin Wiker's book Ten Books that Screwed Up the World, but after ignoring it for some time I have looked at it again, likely because of my feeling that its selections offer a lot of insight into values rejected in Australia but dominant in every other "Western" nation.

Today, when I met with a half-sister of mine for Christmas shopping, I talked to her about what I had been studying and when I mentioned Ten Books that Screwed Up the World, she told me that its title was actually a parody on Ten Days that Shook the World. Knowing the fact that, on the other side of the culture wars, Margaret Atwoods The Handmaid's Tale was a play on the various Canterbury Tales, I felt that her argument might well be true. The extra syllables in Wiker's title compared to Reed's classic made me initially doubtful. Nonetheless, the fact that, four minutes ten seconds into a video on the book Wiker acknowledges that Regnery chose its title, makes it certain that the title really is parodying Ten Days that Shook the World.

Yet, not one reader among many who discuss the book has ever noted this likelihood, though Ten Days that Shook the World is listed as an omission by one commentator without justification. It is surprising that someone with so little cultural knowledge can make such a discovery, and I wonder if it will inspire others to find other similar trivia.

No comments: