Of course we all do it. We all speak in non-sequiturs all the time. Sometimes we do it accidentally, mostly probably. Once in a while we do it deliberately, for effect.
The non-sequitur can be a delight; it can be hilarious. I’m a bit of a fan.
I recently saw this non-sequitur on FaceBook:
Chris Martin: Chris Martin Blames Self for Split With Gwyneth, Loves One Direction (Rolling Stone)
|The Latest Issue of Rolling Stone|
I’m sure Rolling Stone asked Chris Martin questions about his ‘conscious uncoupling’ from Gwyneth Paltrow, and I’m equally sure that the interviewer from the magazine asked about the Colplay frontman’s taste in current popular music. What I’m not sure about is that the reason the two split up was because Chris Martin loves the boy band One Direction.
Of course, and despite their flocks of young female followers, all boy bands have a touch of the homoerotic about them, but I’m guessing this isn’t that. A grown woman might be surprised by her 37 year old husband’s music choices when they include stuff squarely aimed at the teeny bopper market (do they even call them that any more?), but I’m guessing this isn’t that either.
This is a fine example of the non-sequitur. It’s also my reason for writing this blog.
I don’t know who wrote this strap line for my FaceBook feed, or how it was generated, come to think about it. I only know that I read it and laughed. I don’t know whether it was intended as a non-sequitur or to make me laugh. I also don’t know how Rolling Stone or the person who wrote the interview feel about it. I don’t know if they feel they’ve been made fools of. I’m guessing probably not.
Here’s the thing though: I care!
Here’s what I care about. I care about grammar.
Clearly the point of this strap line was concision. There were only so many words available. The content of the interview had to be put across in a limited space, and it had to appeal to readers. It was an advert for the article.
I didn’t click on the link and read the interview. I didn’t do it for two reasons. Firstly, the blurb actually gave away too much information. The line could have read:
Chris Martin: Reveals Who Was To Blame For Split, And His Music Tastes (Rolling Stone)
The second reason was that daft non-sequitur. OK, it made me laugh, but it also made me think that the writing would be bloody awful, that the article might be unreadable. I couldn’t be bothered to find out. Even if we accept that the reader wants to know the content of the interview before reading it, the line could still have read:
Chris Martin: Chris Martin Blames Self for Marriage Split. Also Loves One Direction (Rolling Stone)
You see... Not that difficult.
And, let’s face it, there might just be the odd reader who’d end up very disappointed. There might be the odd reader who followed the link expecting to read a salacious exposé of Chris Martin doing unspeakably delicious things with the five glorious boys from a certain boy band, and no one wants that on his conscience, surely?