Bowdler’s Dash

In an otherwise good article, Naomi Wolf (or maybe her editor) falls prey to the regrettable sin of using dashes to purge “objectionable” words of their, well, objectionableness.  It’s in the headline, even:

I’m Not “Brave”; You’re Just A P—y

If one were even less of a pussy, one might use the word “pussy” (or insist on its use, rather than the removal of sufficient letters to readers to play the “what does that spell?” game).  What’s really interesting about this particular bowdlerization is that “pussy” in this context is short for “pussycat”, i.e. small, skittish and fearful, rather than referring to a “vagina” — which it does not mean here, for obvious reasons, but the word is doomed by its dual meaning.

If we were talking about a farmyard rooster, would we refer to it as a “c*ck”?  Of course not.  We would only insert the  asterisk if we were talking about Willie Brown inserting his c*ck into Kamala Harris’s c*nt.  (Well, I wouldn’t, but you get my drift.)

If you really want to be “brave”, write the word “nigger” instead of “the n-word” — the other night, I read that Joseph Conrad’s excellent novel is now called “The N-Word of the Narcissis”, and my howls of enraged laughter woke up the neighbor’s dog and got him barking.

When I do the News Roundup feature, I spend an inordinate amount of time editing the headlines by removing “a**hole”, for instance, and replacing it with its proper spelling.  (No small feat, because of the multitude of fonts and backgrounds used, by the way.)

Note to the editors of all the rags I link to:  if you’re quoting someone who called someone else a dickhead, for example, you’re allowed to use the actual word instead of Mrs. Bowdler’s dashes or asterisks.

I know, I know, people are going to complain about the foul language.  Then use different words, or don’t quote them at all.

But to be honest, “wimp” just does not have the same scornful impact as “pussy”.

Speed Bump #2,593

Once again, we have an excellent example of near-illiteracy from a newspaper (no prizes for guessing which one, although they’re all equally terrible):

A huntsman spider has been captured devouring a frog after luring it into a fake shelter made of leaves, in Madagascar, Africa. The grizzly spectacle was discovered by a team of scientists (top right) conducting a bird count in the village of Ambodiala, in Marojejy National Park in the island country’s northeast.

Excuse me, but a “grizzly spectacle” would be the sight of eight bears taking it in turns to butt-fuck Kamala Harris*.

The proper word to be used in the above report should be “grisly” — G-R-I-S-L-Y — which means gruesome or nauseating.  Not that that the above-mentioned gangbang wouldn’t be just as gruesome to watch — those poor bears — but the fact remains that there is a massive difference between grisly  and grizzly, as any fourth-grader of my generation would have been able to point out.

Grisly —–>  <—– Grizzly

Also, to pick a further nit, the spider wasn’t “captured”, it was captured on film  — another seemingly-small but important detail.

And finally, Madagascar is an independent nation located on an island off the coast of Africa.  Carrying the DM ‘s example further, it would be like saying that helium-voiced singer Kylie Minogue comes from “Australia, Southeast Asia”.

All that sloppiness in one paragraph.  Is it too early for a second gin?


*I’m not wishing violence upon our beloved Vice-President, of course;  this analogy is purely for illustrative purposes.

Laying Eggs

Anyone see something wrong with this news headline?

It’s in the sub-headline.

You do not “lay” on a mattress;  you lie on a mattress.  You do not lay down;  you lie down.  “Lay down” is used as a verb requiring an object, e.g. “laying down a barrage” or even “laying down a carpet” — although to the ultra-picky, one just “lays a carpet” (the “down” is understood).

Chickens lay eggs, builders lay bricks (bricklayers), decorators lay carpets (carpetlayers, which has fallen out of use, and “carpet layers” has come into vogue, although “carpet layers” strictly speaking means a number of carpets lying (not laying) on top of one another).

In sexual slang, men lay women — historically, when a man “laid a woman down” or “lay (past tense of the verb) down with a woman”, it was a euphemism for having sex, hence “getting laid”.

If you get confused about all this, just remember:  Hens lay eggs.   It’s a transitive verb, requiring an object.

The key word is “lie”.  Any time you use the word as an expression of becoming recumbent, it’s “lie”:  lie down, lie on a bed and so on.  The only time one would say “lay on a bed” is when it happened in the past, e.g. “She lay asleep on the bed last night, clutching her teddy bear.”

“She was laying on the bed” always begs the question:  “Laying what?  Eggs?  Bricks?”  The correct expression is:  “She was lying on the bed.”

As to the correctness of having homeless Eastern Europeans lying [sic]  on mattresses outside Park Lane shops:  that is a topic for another time.

Spanking Time

Back when I were a lad — this would have been just after they discovered the wheel — it was common practice for a teacher to smack your hand with a ruler each time you made a mistake in your grammar.

[pause to allow Millennial snowflakes to recover from this tale of unspeakable brutality]

So I’d like to find the person who did the copy for this sign, and whack their grubby hand three times:

The first transgression is easy:  their  for they’re  — or to be an even bigger stickler for form (and I am), “they are” because an apostrophe on a sign is a big no-no.  That said, I’ve pretty much given up on complaining about the “their” / “they’re” / “there” mistake because most people nowadays are fucking illiterate and are either too uneducated or too lazy — both are inexcusable — to bother with correct grammar.

Ditto the incorrect use of the word they for “their privacy” in the sign-off statement.   Without bothering to check, I’ll take an educated guess that the copywriter is Black because this grammar is right out of Ebonics 101.  (I may be wrong, but I doubt it.)

The third  transgression on the sign, however, is one that drives me absolutely crazy, and if offered a ruler and the offending copywriter’s hand, I would instead deliver a resounding smack to the side of the fool’s head with my open hand.

Folks, this isn’t difficult.  If you want to make sure of something (e.g. customers’ privacy as in the above), that is to “ENsure”.  If you’re going to “INsure” something, you need to call Liberty Mutual and take out a policy.  So unless an INsurance company is going to pay out money each time Wally World breaches someone’s privacy, the correct word is “ENSURE”.

And speaking of Wally World:  whoever hired the moron who wrote the copy for this sign also needs not a smack on the hand but an almighty kick in the balls.  I know that WalMart generally feeds out the bottom of the staffing barrel because they’re too stingy to pay decent wages, but that doesn’t excuse this.  Nothing can.

FFS, I need to stop reading so early in the morning:  it’s barely light outside and I need a bloody gin & tonic already.

Incoherent

Sometimes, I could just spit. Most recently, when reading Kruiser’s comment on Trump’s surge in support among Black men (not “males” — another pet peeve), young Stephen made the following statement:

“Yes, the numbers are small, but doubling up is better than doubling down.”

…which makes no fucking sense at all, does it? I know why he said it that way, and it’s a cute juxtaposition, but Kruiser just comes  off as illiterate when he utters such mumbo-jumbo.

For the benefit of good grammar:  “doubling” by definition is growth — i.e. “up” — so “doubling up” is redundant. Next: “doubling down” is a gambling term — i.e. not appropriate in this context. What Kruiser meant to say was that in terms of Trump’s popularity among Kanyes, going up is better than going down, and the correct expression of which is quite simple:

“Doubling is better than halving.”

Sometimes I wonder why I bother…