Literal-Minded

Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

Adult Filmgoers

Posted by Neal on April 30, 2005

Last week, my wife pointed out a headline on the front page of the arts section of the paper. She said it was one that I in particular would get a laugh out of. It was a story about the plot in the movie The Interpreter, which evidently is surprisingly sophisticated for an action movie. It said:

Interpreter speaks to adult filmgoers.

“Right,” I said. “‘Interpreter,’ ‘speaks to’… heh, heh.”

“No,” she said, “Adult filmgoers. Like, adult films?”

“OHH!” How could I have missed such a great bracketing ambiguity? For the next five minutes, I kept breaking into chuckles as I thought about fans of adult films getting, uh, excited about The Interpreter. (It’s like the Muppet Show bracketing ambiguity mentioned here.) Whenever I started laughing again, my wife started laughing too; my level of amusement at the joke struck her as much funnier than the joke itself.

“Honey,” I said, “You know how to please me.”

3 Responses to “Adult Filmgoers”

  1. Anonymous said

    From http://www.guildcrest.com/adult.html , “Adult Lifestyle Communities”:

    “Albion Sun Vista – a master planned, adult oriented community located in the south end of the new City of Ottawa.”

    I keep thinking of retired porn stars …

    b*

  2. Karen said

    Ahh…but it IS the shared “laughter” that does a good marriage make.

    Might have been 60 minutes (can’t recall) that had a show about a man who studied “micro-expressions” (which last merely fleeting micro-tenths of a second on people’s faces) and his success at estimating couples (in counseling) who would get divorced.

    Aside from the tell-tale micro-expressions of disdain or exhaustion…were those couples who laughed and joked more often…they ARE the ones that last together.

    So — keep a laughing together!!

  3. […] part of my language acquisition that never fully took. (Yes, I admit it: Part of the last line in this story is a lie, a lie! […]

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