One small step

Because I believe our current president has a tenuous, hit-and-miss relationship (at best) with truth, I tend to just shake my head when he opens his piehole or his Tweeting machine: there’s no reason to think any of it is accurate or honest, and it shouldn’t be taken seriously (or literally)…by anyone.  But his current delusional outburst about the Philadelphia Eagles’ visit to the White House should not go unrefuted; one of the best responses I’ve seen was Eagles player Malcolm Jenkins today on Twitter.

De8Zs7_UYAAMD5AMaintaining a functioning civil society takes work from all of us, starting with just calling bullshit when appropriate.  It really is the least we can do.  (And never let it be said that I didn’t do the least I could do ~~ Hawkeye Pierce)

Windsor not

Look, since I’m kind of on a cranky roll anyway (see two most recent posts, below), here are a few unkind words about Americans’ obsession with tomorrow’s royal wedding.

The one in England…you heard about it, right?

God, who around here hasn’t!?  Honestly, have you thought about what has brainwashed American TV networks—hell, local stations even—into thinking that we care enough about this spectacle to justify their overkill?  Well I have, and the answer is: nothing.  They don’t really care whether we care or not about some royal wedding; it’s just an event—one completely absent any real significance (except for the participants and their families, I assume)—that they can turn into “An Event!” that will attract a lot of eyeballs, which is what they need to sell overpriced advertising.  Have storyline, will hype.

And even at that I wouldn’t be bothered enough to complain, except for one thing.  I have no qualms about a TV company that promotes and broadcasts an event with the intention of making a boatload of money; that’s what they do, whether it’s the Super Bowl or “American Idol” or the last episode of “M*A*S*H.”  But I have significant-sized qualms when they prostitute any credibility they may still enjoy by dressing up this sales opportunity as coverage of serious news when it is without a doubt nothing of the sort, and when we let them get away with it.  By “we” I mean the Great Unseen Unwashed American Tee Wee Viewing Audience, and by “let them get away with it” I mean act like we don’t know or care that they’re blowing sunshine up our collective skirt.

Oh, here’s some good news: television ratings indicate interest in this pseudonews is less than expected…I hope that carries over into tomorrow, too: schadenfreude is best served with tea and biscuits.

And on a related subject: this keen interest from Americans toward a royal wedding seems a bit disloyal, inasmuch as we fought a whole war and everything to make the point that we don’t much care for fancy pants nobles and royalty because "all men are created equal."  So what’s up with that?

My English is very goodly!

The Southeast Asian character who said that in a television show that’s stuck in a dusty corner of my memory—maybe a “M*A*S*H” episode?—got away with this funny line it because (1) she wasn’t a native English speaker and (2) it was the 1970s, excuses not available to the people who write and edit our newspapers and television newscasts today.

Last week  in The Washington Post Gene Weingarten lamented the death of English at the hands of journalists, the people you might have imagined should know how to properly use the tool that has expedited our exchange of information ever since evolution stole our ability to do that task with a simple sniff.

The end came quietly on Aug. 21 on the letters page of The Washington Post.  A reader castigated the newspaper for having written that Sasha Obama was the “youngest” daughter of the president and first lady, rather than their “younger” daughter.  In so doing, however, the letter writer called the first couple the “Obama’s.”  This, too, was published, constituting an illiterate proofreading of an illiterate criticism of an illiteracy.  Moments later, already severely weakened, English died of shame.

You in the hinterlands, do not take solace imagining that the plague is restricted to Our Nation’s Capital…oh no:

The Lewiston (Maine) Sun-Journal has written of “spading and neutering.”  The Miami Herald reported on someone who “eeks out a living” — alas, not by running an amusement-park haunted house.  The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star described professional football as a “doggy dog world.”  The Vallejo (Calif.) Times-Herald and the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune were the two most recent papers, out of dozens, to report on the treatment of “prostrate cancer.”

The demise of the language has not happened in a vacuum: readers supplied Weingarten with some of the more irksome examples they have stomached:

7. “loose,” as the opposite of “win.”

8. A mute point.

9. “amount” used to describe countable objects. 

Although regrettable, the slaying of the language by those who (arguably) should know better isn’t that much of a surprise.  These are the same people who, for instance, recently accepted the explanation from golfer Erica Blasberg’s doctor that he removed the suicide note and pill bottle from the scene of her suicide to save her family embarrassment without asking why he didn’t remove the plastic bag that was tied over her head, and who showed “dramatic video” shot from on board a Coast Guard helicopter of a rescue at sea without ever explaining why the boat was still speeding across the surf!

Got an excellent example of egregious and excess execution of English?  Hit the comment button and share with the class.