Of Curious Workmanship
by Edgar G. Snow, Jr.
Ed’s Master’s Thesis Topic Hotline
[p.82] I decided to start a new business: selling master’s thesis ideas. I considered dissertations too, but I couldn’t tell the qualitative difference between the two, except that theses tend to be shorter, and my banker says the master’s market is bigger. If you consider the market for plagiarized term papers and college entrance essays, I figure I’ve got a good shot at early retirement with this new venture. Also, anyone who understands the laws of supply and demand knows that good master’s thesis ideas are scarce nowadays. For instance, how many more pounds of theses can Shakespeare carry? Who wants to spend a couple of years researching and writing on “Hamlet’s Use of Infinitive Tenses: Scylla and Charybdis on a Procrustean Bed”?
Earlier, as you may recall, I recommended the fol-[p.83]lowing thesis ideas as part of a promotional campaign, free of charge: (1) “Gradual Word of Wisdom Acceptance in the Nineteenth Century as Evidenced by the Disappearance of Spittoons from Mormon Photographs,” and (2) “Promotion of Polygamy in the Nineteenth Century through the Fine Arts.” For doubters, here’s a quote from one of my many satisfied customers, Dr. T. Hesys Nocktov, professor of slavic languages: “I floundered for years trying to finish my degree in philosophy until I called Ed’s 800-hotline and received for a thirty-day FREE trial period the thesis topic: ‘Pain: An Illusion That Can Really Hurt You.’ Not only did Ed’s service help me finish my thesis, it also changed my life.”
Now, for a limited time, and offered only to readers of this volume, 1 present the following topics for sale:
(1) “Berra-isms in Mormon Literature” (not to be confused with Hebraisms—berra-isms are evidence of the influence of Yogi Berra, famous Yankee catcher, in a text, not evidence of the Hebrew language). Examples: “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.” “It ain’t over till it’s over.” “You can observe a lot just by watching.” You know at least ten others, I’m sure. For more ideas, see The Yogi Book: I Didn’t Really Say Everything I Said, by Yogi Berra. 1 can think of one berra-ism from Brigham Young: “Mormonism means [p.84] minding your own business.” As I recall, this quote is on a quilt hanging in the Church History Museum. At a minimum, I think the author of the thesis should also coin a few new ones as well as set forth a detailed plan for wide dissemination of Mormon berra-isms, preferably through the instrumentality of The Church News.
(2) “Mormon Palindromes” (not to be confused with background noise in Monty Python sketches). A palindrome is a word or phrase that can be read frontwards and backwards. Examples: “Bob”; “nurses run”; “Madam, I’m Adam”; and “In Oz, No Ronzoni.” Mormon palindromes are likely not to include the word “Mormon” since I can only think of one phrase that begins “no mrom,” and that phrase would have to be spoken by Scooby-Do or Astro, and there’s no evidence to suggest either of them has been baptized or even has a mother! For more ideas, see Jon Agee’s So Many Dynamos! & Go Hang a Salami [I’m a Lasagna Hog], as well as Allan Miller’s Mad Amadeus Sued a Madam.
(3) “Book of Mormon Euphemisms” (not to be confused with “toss ’em a BOMB,” or other missionary nicknames for the Book of Mormon). This is a vein not yet mined by Hugh Nibley or F.A.R.M.S. researchers that might yield a wealth of apologetic nuggets—of dubious worth, perhaps, but evidence of Book of Mormon historicity nonetheless. Scholars have long recognized [p.85] that the Bible contains numerous euphemisms that obscure the meaning of the original text when it is translated literally. For instance, everyone knows (no pun intended) the background of the term “carnal knowledge” and its link to a biblical euphemism. A sampling of other biblical euphemisms includes: (1) “feet” (Ez. 16:25), (2) “thigh” (Gen. 24:2), (3) “hair of feet” (Isa. 7:20), (4) “heel” (Jer. 13:22), and (5) “cover your feet” (Jdgs. 3:24) (see Pope’s Anchor Bible Dictionary article, “Bible, Euphemism and Dysphemism in the”; as an added bonus, stylistically speaking, it’s likely the most spirited article in the dictionary).
The only Book of Mormon near-euphemism I can think of is found in Alma 1:15: ‘‘And it came to pass that they took him; and his name was Nehor; and they carried him upon the top of the hill Manti, and there he was caused, or rather did acknowledge, between the heavens and the earth, that what he had taught to the people was contrary to the word of God; and there he suffered an ignominious death” (emphasis added). This really isn’t a euphemism, it’s more like a Freudian slip (hey, “Freudian Slips in the Book of Mormon”—another thesis topic!); maybe Mormon’s saying some Nephites kind of leaned on him a little with a pre-Columbian rubber hose. But seriously, just think, if you could find Hebraic euphemisms in the Book of Mormon, you might even [p.86] get a fat research grant from F.A.R.M.S. to pursue your strange new hobby at your leisure.
Okay, how much do you think you’d have to pay for one of these or any other quality master’s thesis topics? $100? $1.00? No, the purchase price for any of these ideas is a mere footnote acknowledgment to my thesis hotline in the form, respectively, of a palindrome, berra-ism, or euphemism. Call Ed Snow’s Master Thesis Topic Hotline at l-800-MTHESIS now!! But wait! For a limited time only, I’ll also throw in a free thesis title with any thesis topic purchased. Additional titles, and titles with colons or classical allusions, are available for an additional nominal fee. Don’t delay. Act now. Time is running out.