With the advent of B. M. W. Schrapnel, Ph.D., it seems that etymology has found its P. D. Q. Bach. Just as Peter Schickele--"discoverer" of several manuscripts of P. D. Q. Bach, last child of the prolific Johann Sebastian--lampoons baroque music and its performance with P. D. Q.'s schleptets and serenudes, so does Richard McKee, creator of B. M. W., parody Safirean language mavens, and nearly everyone else. The essays in The Clan of the Flapdragon and their accompanying "letters from readers," which originally appeared in the literary magazine Oasis, are dense, satiric, and at times quite academic. Does the "Bop 'Til You Drop" bumpersticker on a late-model Lincoln advocate that you dance all night, jazz it up till the wee hours, or "fornicate until you faint"? If poon is a type of East Indian tree and tang is (a) a Chinese dynasty; (b) the small end of a knife; or (c) a verb meaning "to ring loudly," then "how in the bloody hell poontang is synonymous with sexual intercourse ... beats the poop out of me!" In "What to Buy Your Wordmonger," Schrapnel recommends a specific Shakespeare edition: "It is a 1937 edition, but you know the Bard. He has not written a word lately." The same essay advises that "if noxious sedatives are your bent, there is The Bridges of Madison County (still) and its author's relapse, Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend." And in a speech to the International Society for Unbelievably Preposterous Prose, Schrapnel tells writers hoping to be published that "if you are unbelievably lucky and somehow drop your manuscript on the right desk at the right time ... well, think of all of those postage stamps as lottery tickets."
"In its play with language, The Clan of the Flapdragon is simultaneously a celebration of language- a tribute to the power of the word and the vital role of literacy in our culture. McKee delights in reminding us that language is not solely the tool of advertisers, politicians, literary theorists, or other extremists."
—Stanley W. Lindberg, Editor, The Georgia Review
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