Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Most Obscure Reference Of The Day

NYTimes:
Conditions were much better, in fact, than at most public hospitals in the third world. Hospitals that mainly serve the poor have very little political clout, which means that conditions in their wards sometimes seem to have been staged by Hieronymous Bosch.

Hieronymous Bosch, really? FLG bets less than 1% of the readers of that article knew the reference.

6 comments:

william randolph brafford said...

Hieronymous Bosch comes up all the time. Didn't you see In Bruges?

FLG said...

In all seriousness, I fucking loved one part in In Bruges.

Overall, the movie was okay, but that conversation still kills me.

profmondo said...

Do I win anything? Yes, because I don't read the NYT anymore.

The Ancient said...

FWIW, the NYT style-book assumes a college-educated readership.*

So the real question is, what percent of college graduates would get the reference, and I think the answer is much higher than you suggest.
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*The Washington Post style-book, by contrast, assumes a readership with an eighth-grade education -- though they don't disclose that, for obvious reasons.

FLG said...

What percentage of college-educated people do you think are familiar with Hieronymous Bosch?

Withywindle said...

NYT probably assumes a more elite audience than just "college-educated." Practically? I would expect a fairly high number of their sixty-year old readers to get it, a middling number of the forty-year olds, few of the twenty-year olds. Bosch ought to have a continuing attraction--the ghoulish, the grotesque--but I suspect more modern horror kitsch increasingly replaces him in the collective memory.

 
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