Perils Of Illiteracy

Here’s a thought which starts off well, and ends in unintentional hilarity.

“Meanwhile, moving to an unknown place is far from out of character. This time four years ago, I packed up my car in Ohio and drove out west with no plans for two months. In 2018 I hitchhiked around south Peru. Later that summer I landed in Bali with no agenda and a month to spare. While island hopping in Gili, I was caught near the center of an earthquake when I was far from sober prompting me to evacuate.”

You see, “to evacuate” means to empty out, or to be emptied out.  Towns and buildings may be evacuated (by emptying them of people, for instance), but people aren’t evacuated, unless some form of laxative, diuretic or similar are in the picture.

So when the idiot quoted says “I was caught near the center of an earthquake when I was far from sober prompting me to evacuate”, what comes across is actually “I was caught near the center of an earthquake when I was far from sober prompting me to shit myself”  — funny, but I don’t think that’s quite what he was trying to say.

And in The Federalist, too… [sigh]

14 comments

  1. Reminds me of a story I read in a local newspaper many years back. The so called reporter stated that a guy had been “electrocuted” in an industrial accident and he was now bringing a lawsuit against his employer. Since the definition of electrocution is to kill by electric shock I thought that the story should have been submitted to the Church as evidence of a miracle. Just like the lawyer commercials that start with “If you have died of asbestos exposure, please call this number…. “

  2. It’s scary. Just this morning I received the following on the Facebook (yeah, I know)

    “You may want to do some research into the history and beginnings of policing in the southern United States. You will find that deep in its roots is explicit racism.”

    To which I reply “Well, no, my FB friend. You MAY want to do some research into the history of your mom. You may find that she got her start giving blowjobs to sailors down by the pier. Of course, you may not.”

    Unfortunately, this is what passes for logical discussions these days, which is why I come back to your blog. Thanks!

  3. Yes, I read this in The Federalist yesterday and noted the error, but then again when compared to much of what is written today (correction – what is TYPED today – nobody actually writes with pen and paper), it is a small mistake.

    It is a reflection of the state of our education system. It’s more than that, it’s an indictment of the failure to teach rather than indoctrinate. Look and listen to the writings and spoken words of our “elite” media – under educated and brainwashed lemmings!

  4. Does ‘decimate’ still mean ‘reduce by ten-percent’?
    As in ‘cloth masks are incapable of decimating any virus’.

    Is a ‘face mask’ different from a regular mask?

    If I have more than ‘one’, do I have two, three, or more?
    Do I have ‘ones’, as in ‘those ones’?

    I particularly enjoy the plural of ‘guys’… apparently, lately, the plural is ‘guyses’.

    ‘Where are you?’ is brief and clear.
    ‘Where are you located?’ is clumsy and redundant.

    ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’, while tending to reduce my inherent simmering combat-paranoia by a couple-three degrees anytime I am ‘located’ around ‘you guyses’, also immediately grounds me with a grudging respect for phonetic speakers.

    The whole thing is enough for me to throw my hands up in despair while shouting ‘Phonetic Eureka Czar Knight!’.

    Whiskey Alpha November Kilo Echo Romeo Sahara.

    [ suddenly remembers to breathe ]

    1. I gave up on “decimate” (one in ten) many years ago. Now, of course, it means “utterly destroy” because people are illiterate and lazy withal.

      Kim’s Law of Budget Cuts states that “Anything can be reduced by 10% without too much harm being inflicted” — which is why the Roman army’s punishment for mass desertion or -cowardice in battle was decimation; a one-tenth reduction in force didn’t constitute a serious loss in manpower, but it was an excellent spur for the rest.

      1. Oh, and another tooth-puller for me is “Where are you at?”, the “at” being totally redundant. In modern text-speak (which is basically turning into Ebonics), “were u at” is even worse.

        1. One step at a time.
          I would be happy if we could just get the difference between “lose” and “loose” down pat.

  5. ‘Where are you at? (right after the “at,” stupid, and of course, it’s usually “where are you located at?”).

    I’ll second the motion on ‘decimate’ and ‘electrocute’ and add ‘literally.’

    Illiteracy and incompetence abound; at least it’s a handy marker for people to avoid.

    1. don’t forget irregardless. Which according to Google is a real word. Defined as a nonstandard synonym for regardless.

  6. My pet peeve is the singularization of the plural pronouns they, their, etc. I was always taught that you matched singular with singular and plural with plural. The sentence: “Everyone should have their own opinion.” Has always struck my ears as odd. The convention was always to use his as a stand-in. If we’re talking about an all female college, then use her. If that offends you, rewrite the sentence to avoid the problem. As in: “Everyone should form an individual opinion.”

    1. Churchill is said to have once said (or written), “That in English, the masculine embraces the feminine, which is as it should be.” Of course, nowadays, the rule is sexist, and the quotation, and Churchill , too, are heteronormative.

      “Farewell, farewell to my beloved language,
      Once English, now a vile orangutanguage.”

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