1. souse, n.5: 3. A drunkard. slang (chiefly U.S.). (OED)
  2. white souse, n.1: A blog for literature, politics, science, and the occasional cocktail.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

False Appositive

Right down the street there is a cute little bakery, situated in a house within an unzoned neighborhood, complete with little baskets of flowers below the second story window. Each time I pass it, I either laugh or cringe. Why? The sign:

Who Made the Cake!

If only they'd allowed themselves to settle for that lowly interrogative they were reaching for ("Who Made the Cake?"). If what they needed was more pop, they could have grinned and bourn the double punctuation by adding the exclamation after the question mark ("Who Made the Cake?!"). Hey, it's good enough for bloggers.

But instead, they've launched into a radically different sentence structure -- now we are left with an orphaned appositive. At times, I amuse myself as I'm driving by providing the long-lost noun clause. As always, it started prosaically ("He must have failed grammar, that rube, Who Made the Cake!"), but I've been reaching for more fantastic formulations.

"It was Mr. T., Who Made the Cake!"

"The Klingon, Who Made the Cake!, was reciting Hamlet (in the original Klingon, of course)."

"I dreamt I was eaten by flannels, Who Made the Cake!"

Perhaps the noun clause was on Oceanic flight 815, and is now marooned somewhere within the script of Lost.

My most elaborate scenario involves the Commander Adama of Battlestar Galactica, who, upon learning that the mess cook (known for his pastry skills) is actually a Cylon, comments, slowly, acerbically, and with increasing volume, "Who. Made. The. Cake!" At which point, all eyes turn immediately to the threatening Dutch chocolate concoction sitting on the table.

But the world is full of lost noun clauses which will never be realized (perhaps what is missing is the transcendent referent itself). Confections never tasted so Derridean.


Shawn Hansen said...


I love your post, but I think you missed it on the Adama issue. I am certain it must be something Starbuck is doing that leads to a revelation ending with cake.

Who made it? Obviously, it was one of the five Who Made the Cake!

I am, uh, appositive.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered that possibly the baker's name is "Who"?