“Words Used as Words”

Unbelievably fun piece by Ed Park in Bookforum, on the invented sample quotations in the Chicago Manual of Style:

It’s like glimpsing the surviving title cards for some legendary ruined silent movie. The non sequiturs cluster into miniature Ashbery poems (5.70: “One committee member may be from Ohio, another from Pennsylvania, and a third from West Virginia. / Ronald adored her and she him”), and even the terser lists take on a shimmering pillow-book feel, as in this passage from 7.29, “Commonly Accepted Epithets”:

the Great Emancipator
the Wizard of Menlo Park
Stonewall Jackson
the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table
Babe Ruth