Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stephen Louis A. Dillard's Good Literary Judgment

Good Literary Judgment

Milton scholar Jeffrey Shoulson, over at the Milton List, posted a message titled "A Judge with a Miltonic sense of humor" to share something one wouldn't ordinarily expect to find amusing, namely, a passage via link to the legal blog Above the Law, in which David Lat, in a post titled "A Fun Little Footnote" (October 11, 2012), has excerpted the following from Judge Stephen Louis A. Dillard's remarks in Manhertz v. State, a decision handed down on October 9, 2012 by the Georgia Court of Appeals concerning identity theft enabled by a certain Nicole Joyner, a hapless lawbreaker:
Joyner explained that she met a [female] dancer at a strip club, who went by the stage name Paradise. After a brief conversation, Paradise asked Joyner how she was employed, and Joyner informed her that she worked as an assistant manager at an apartment complex. Paradise responded by informing Joyner that she had a friend named Kane, who would pay $1,000 for tenants' names, social-security numbers, driver's-license numbers, and copies of signed checks. Joyner agreed to do so and later provided Paradise with the requested information. However, Joyner asserted that she was never paid any money. And although Joyner claimed that she went back to the strip club on one or two occasions in an attempt to collect the promised payment, she was unable to find Paradise -- no doubt finding little comfort in the axiom that "solitude sometimes is best society."
As Mr. Lat points out, Judge Dillard has exhibited "a sense of humor and literary flair," for the quote comes from words spoken by Adam shortly before Eve goes off by herself to work alone in the Garden of Eden, but encounters the serpent:
John Milton, Paradise Lost 234, bk. IX, ll. 249 (G. Routledge and sons ed. 1905) (1674).
In response to the humor, Carol Barton posted:
Sounds to me as though Paradise got lost, Jeffrey [Shoulson] . . . thanks for the grin!
Appreciating Carol's pun, I added:
But Paradise gained . . .
To which Carol rejoined:
Yes -- right before she got lost!
The puns, just to make them obvious, are on Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. Milton really ought to have written a trilogy -- Paradise Gained, Paradise Lost, and Paradise Regained -- the better to reflect my pun, but I suppose he wasn't prophet enough to foresee this future wordplay. Anyway, Carol and I had our pun-fun, though our humor doesn't really measure up to Judge Dillard's humorous use of the Milton quote, but neither of us can pass up an opportunity to pun . . . or, at least, I cannot.

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