Posted by Dr. Amrit Chadwallah Adjunct Professor of Hidden Meaning
Nota Bene, my wouldbe scholars:
The late Middle Ages and Renaissance gave rise to a host of joke books, parodies and satires many of which included scatological and pornographic material and many of which did not have specifically symbolic intentions although even here writers did not find it difficult to emphasize moral lessons from the incidents depicted. The facetiae are certainly a legitimate genre of the symbolic literature since as Aristotle said jokes are a form of wit, wit is a form of metaphor and metaphor is the driving mechanism of the literary symbol. Called variously facetiae, ridiculae, nebulae or nugae these collections were part of a tradition of humorous short stories popular in the late Middle Ages, going back at least to an 11th Century collection of poems called the Carmina Cantabrigiensia or Cambridge Songs.
Wealth Bondage, appearances to the contrary, is more than a Bordello for the Market Dominants and their consumate submissives, it is a symbol affected with the public trust and pointing an important moral. To be precise, Wealth Bondage (considered as an immortal work of art) is a miscellany of what might variously be called Facetiae, Ridiculae, Nebulae, Scomma, or Nugae. Serio ludere is serious business: You can expect a question about the provenance of Wealth Bondage on the final exam. Shall I repeat this post for those of you who were not taking good notes? Wealth Bondage is what? Wealth Bondage is facetiae, ridiculae, nebulae, scomma, or nugae. Shall I spell those out for you? And for extra credit, Matrullo, what trope am I now using? Yes! scomma, or skomma in the Greek.
A subspecies of the facetiae referred to by Tesauro is the scomma (Latin for a teasing, taunting expression and the same word skomma in Greek).
Please make a note of it, Vitia. That was a Text Book example of rhetoric used to advantage in a real world situation. Why in the context of our role as teachers, do we use scomma or facetiae, Tom? Yes, to enforce a moral point and for the general betterment of humankind. Let that be the take away from today's lesson. You are dismissed.