This Year, Give Presence
Slogan for Advent Conspiracy
antanaclasis (an-tan-AC-la-sis), the pun. From the Greek, meaning, more or less, “boomerang.”
The War on Christmas rages on. Congressional Democrats are pushing the health care vote all the way to Christmas Eve or beyond, thus proving that the multi-trillion-dollar bill is just a cover for the liberals’ assault on Jesus. Meanwhile, the defending army busily outs Christmasphobic stores and slams President Obama for preempting the sacred A Charlie Brown Christmas to order 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. As if that had anything to do with Christmas!
Meanwhile, a group of pastors has decided that the holiday’s true spirit may not lie in liturgically dancing beagles or clerks mumbling “Merry Christmas.” The Advent Conspiracy urges people to spend a bit less of their credit cards and more of their time. Their slogan, “Give Presence,” constitutes a worthy use of an antanaclasis, which repeats the exact sound of a word while giving it a different meaning. For instance, “Call girl” is an antanaclasis of “Call, girl!”
The antanaclasis applies only to homonymic puns—words that sound exactly the same. Many years ago, Figaro got into a dispute with a co-worker who insisted that the only correct pronunciation of “harass” emphasized the first syllable. Figaro argued that “haRASS” was equally valid. At a meeting that afternoon, the annoying coworker attempted to correct Figaro’s grammar.
A colleague took her side: “She’s a good editor.”
“Yeah?” Figaro retorted. “She doesn’t know ‘harass’ from her elbow.”
This, dear reader, was a paronomasia, or near-pun. And it earned him a long lecture from the H.R. director. As if that had anything to do with Christmas.