Monday, January 12, 2004

FAQ Depot: Providing True Answers To Made-Up Questions

Today's topic: Oxymoron

I got several mails which asked about these so-called oxymorons. So I'll provide the answers here. However, since I have more answers than questions, so I'll resort to the Indonesian Journalistic Code #977, Article B, Under the Heading "Infotainment": Make some up!

Q: Do oxymorons have four legs?
A: No.

Q: What do oxymorons eat?
A: Brain cels. So I guess, you're safe.

Q: What IS an oxymoron exactly?
A: Glad you asked. The term "oxymoron" comes from the greek oxus (literally: sharp) and morus (literally: fool).

Q: Isn't that a contradictory in terms?
A: Exactly. Many people use oxymorons as a form of intellectual humor. Usually the comedy lies in knowing that people use it regularly. Or an intellectual attack on a certain party by insinuating the opposite of its adjective.

Q: Any examples?
A: Stand up comedian George Carlin, for example, said in many of his acts, "Military Intelligence is a contradictory in terms." He also popularized "Jumbo Shrimp." A lot of women also suggested "Male Intellect" is an oxymoron.

Q: What did the men do about it?
A: They countered with the oxymoron "Female Drivers."

Q: Isn't that, like, gender stereotyping?
A: It is. If you paid more attention, a lot of humor involves stereotyping of many kinds. Racial, gender, cultural, etc. But that's a different issue.

Q: When I come in contact with an oxymoron, what should I do?
A: Firstly: Don't panic! And keep your distance. An active oxymoron will hypnotize people around it, making them think of it as a usual, harmless term. But if you know better, then you're still safe. Report immediately to the Oxymoron Squad Headquarter, with yahooid: a_scriptwriter.

Q: What's your current Top Nine Oxymorons?
A: Here they are...

9. Unbiased Opinion
8. Victimless Crime
7. Forced Relaxation (Found at January 4th, 2004)
6. Friendly Fire
5. Military Intelligence
4. Government Organization
3. Pretty Ugly
2. Peacemaker Missile
1. Microsoft Works

Q: Hey, isn't the correct plural form for oxymoron is oxymora?
A: It is. However, due to excess usage, oxymorons is also a (socially) acceptable use of plural.

Q: Wait, wait, wait! So do oxymorons only apply to terms?
A: No. As I mentioned earlier, it applies to larger uses of comedy: statements, dialogs, one-liners, and even a three-part comedy.

Q: Any examples?
A: There are a lot in this site. Some of my favorites are...
It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
--Mark Twain

I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?
--Benjamin Disraeli

Samuel Goldwyn: What kind of dancing does Martha Graham do?
Associate: Modern dancing.
Samuel Goldwyn: I don't want her then, modern dancing is so old fashioned.
(Thanks to a better-informed reader named pip.)

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