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“Wussies and pussies” – those are the only kinds of people who care about plagiarism, according to Bob Dylan. That was his response to an interviewer who asked him about some rather suspicious similarities between lyrics on his 2001 album Love and Theft (pun intended, perhaps?) and a Japanese true-crime book from the ’90s.

Doubt- What is pun intended here ? And why is the author asking it by writing perhaps ?

Article- https://www.worksinprogress.co/issue/who-cares-about-plagiarism/

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  • pun intended can be looked up. It is a set expression.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 21:55

2 Answers 2

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That is pretty obscure. What the writer is saying is that Dylan was accused of plagiarizing (i.e. stealing) some of his lyrics from a Japanese book. So, "Love and Theft" might perhaps be the title of an album where he steals lyrics from some book that he loves.

This isn't really a pun, because a pun is a joke where one set of words is substituted for another set that it sounds like. This doesn't happen here. Here's an example of a real pun:

enter image description here

So, actually, you're confused because this is actually a bad bit of writing. If I were the writer's editor, I would say to delete it and come up with something else. For example:

That was his response to an interviewer who asked him about some rather suspicious similarities between lyrics on his 2001 album Love and Theft (admission of guilt, perhaps?) and a Japanese true-crime book from the ’90s.

Edit: An improvement to my improvement comes to mind:

That was his response to an interviewer who asked him about some rather suspicious similarities between lyrics on his 2001 album Love and Theft (Freudian slip, perhaps?) and a Japanese true-crime book from the ’90s.

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  • Thanks a lot for such a detailed answer, could you help me understand the pun in the given image ? Cantaloupe (melon) crossed with lassie(young girl-unmarried) becomes melon-collie, where did collie come from ? Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 4:27
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    @ArijitShome Of course. Lassie was a well-known star of a TV dog show from the 50s and 60s. She was a Collie, which is a breed of dog. There is also a well-known song called Melancholy Baby, which is where the play on words comes in. So, if Lassie and a cantaloupe had a baby, it would be a melon-Collie baby, or melancholy baby.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 8:12
  • Thank you so much @BobRodes !, If you get time could you please try answering this question too which I had posted ell.stackexchange.com/questions/309145/… Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 3:45
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I think the reviewer is suggesting that Dylan used "theft" in the title because he had stolen some of the lyrics. "Perhaps" is used because it's speculation about what someone else meant, so the reviewer can't be certain.

When I make a pun, I can say "pun intended", but the nature of a pun is that it is deniable, so you can't say for certain whether someone else means to make a pun.

Having said that, I don't think this qualifies as a pun at all, as it isn't taking advantage of different meanings of a word.

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  • Hi thanks for the answer , I didn't understand what you meant by "the nature of a pun is that it is deniable" , can you explain this a but more , and the author is making a pun here , right ? So isn't a clever Wordplay as a pun us defined as , like the name of Dylan's album is similar to what he has been accused for doing (that is theft) Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 5:30
  • When someone, without thinking, uses a word that could have a double meaning, they sometimes add "No pun intended!". The author is suggesting that, in this case, Dylan did perhaps intend the title to have a hidden meaning. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 8:49
  • Does "pun intended, perhaps ?" not translate to "no pun intended" ? Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 4:21
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    I suppose it could mean "no pun intended, perhaps", but to me it means that a pun is a possibility. (I agree with @BobRodes below that in this case "pun" is inappropriate)
    – tgdavies
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 5:42
  • @ArijitShome No. It means "maybe I intended a pun, and maybe I didn't. And I'm not going to tell you which." In any case, what the writer was attempting to convey was that "theft" might be an admission of being guilty of theft. The writer, however, was trying so hard to be clever that he got his message mixed up.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 21:04

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