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Archive for the ‘Words as Words’ Category

Let us now praise men

Here is something that has been building in my “awareness of annoyance” center for a while:

GUYS.

I miss

MEN.

Everywhere we go, it’s “How are you GUYS?” or “Hey, GUYS, what will you be having this evening?”

Guys” for men and women in a group, but even worse

GUYS

for

MEN.

I dislike this intensely. I consider it to be one of the ways we undermine the positive value of masculinity in our culture. And it is pervasive; even Glenn Beck keeps using the term “GUYS.”

I’m sick of it. I’m considering starting a “Let’s use proper English to bring back proper MEN” society.

MANLINESS is a positive virture, no matter what the feminists may say on the topic.

MEN are grown up and powerful. They have self-control. They are able to act decisively when and as necessary, and they are also able to restrain themselves when action isn’t needed. MEN are strong and are able to use their strength to serve and protect their families, their communities, and their country. MEN have standards. MEN have character.

Guys, let’s be frank, are schlumps. Be honest: what do you picture when you hear the word guy? I’ll bet a pizza that you picture someone sloppily dressed, slumped on the sofa watching the game, with open bags of chips and several empty beer cans strewn about.

So, the picture of guy is weekend life, and not just weekend life: totally-unencumbered-by-any-responsibilities weekend life. That’s the picture summoned by the word guy.

It seems to me that the whole guy culture is becoming an epidemic.

The guy culture is epidemic when the President of the United States, having embarrassed himself (and no one else) by his hastily spoken prejudice about a developing news story, tries to paper over the incident by inviting the GUYS over for a beer. Well, at least the picture shows them wearing suits and trying to sit up reasonably straight; all except the President, of course.

A MAN would have apologized forthrightly, admitting he spoke out of turn and without fully understanding the situation, and been done with it.

PS: I have much much more to write on this topic, so I’ll be returning to it soon and often. In the meantime, good evening, gentlemen!

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What are the chances of that!?

Nil.

Chances of three generations being born on the same date: I have no idea. Quite low, most likely. I’m not skillful at the statistics of probablilty. (The article says 272,910 to one; I have no reason to dispute that.)

Chances of three generations being born on the same day: nil.

It’s no wonder we cannot expect newspapers to get big stories right (or reported at all, often); we cannot even expect them to understand the language anymore.

Afterword: It’s possible this is an English-English vs. American-English usage difference. Until that is proved to me, I’m staying snarky on this one.

First they came for May 5th, part two

This is what I’m talking about:

“It’s disrespectful to do it on Cinco de Mayo,” said Jessica Cortez, a Live Oak sophomore. “They can be a patriot on some other day. Not that specific day.”

[The sophomore is referring to the students wearing clothing decorated with American flag symbols.]

Jessica, dear: you are wrong. Here’s why:

1) There is never a moment when it is inappropriate for a US citizen to be a US patriot. We get to love our country, our ways, our language, our values, and yes even our flag, every day of the year.

2) You are clearly able to feel “disrespected” if you so choose.

3) But that is your choice, and those are your feelings, and no one is required to live their life so that you do not feel “disrespected.”

4) As far as true respect goes, that is earned and not something you are simply entitled to. Your unawareness of that is a failure on the part of your parents and teachers; but the sad fact of their failure still does not entitle you to “feeling respected.”

5) Finally, Americans don’t owe anyone anything on Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo is (and I posit: should be) a lovely and colorful celebration of the heritage of many of the fine folks who have made this excellent country their home — like St. Patrick’s Day, but with salsa. Maybe we enjoy Cinco de Mayo celebrations in that regard; maybe some of us don’t. But no one in this country owes a heightened degree of “respect” to people with a Mexican or Hispanic heritage on Cinco de Mayo. We just don’t. It’s a celebration, not a duty. So we can dress as we choose, any damn day of the year.

PS: Am I the only person who reads “Cinco de Mayo” and immediately thinks of sandwich condiments?

About Mr. President

Writing my previous post reminded me of something that has been bothering me a bit lately, and then on Sunday night, while watching a segment of 60 Minutes, there it was again:

Scott Pelley calling Mr. Clinton, “Mr. President.”

Mr. Clinton isn’t Mr. President. He’s “Mr. Clinton;” or “Mr. Clinton, the former President;” or, in an introduction, “the honorable William Jefferson Clinton.” (And I dare you to make that introduction without snickering.)

I have noticed that the news media in the last decade or so are increasingly referring to former presidents as “Mr. President.” (My Google search just now turned up headlines today referring to “President Clinton” and “President Bush.”) This is wrong for reasons of both protocol and manners, and it worries me because it seems to signify a growing fascination with a permanent elite class; or worse, a quasi-royal class: the Presidents.

There is only one President of the United States, and however much it may distress me that currently we are afflicted with President Barack Obama — still, he is our only President. When he is out of office in 2013, he too will return to being Mr. Obama.

We have no Royals (except of course in Kansas City). Not the Kennedys, not the Clintons, not the Bushes. The President of the United States is, first and foremost, a citizen of the United States. Upon leaving office, which precedent of Mr. Washington’s all presidents since have so far followed, the President, whoever he or she may be, returns to private life as a citizen.

We don’t want any royals, either. The great experiment of this Republic is one of citizen leadership, and in that experiment we Americans remain nearly if not completely alone in history. However much our “elite press,” “elite academics,” “Hollywood elite,” and (last and certainly least) “elite governing class” may wish it otherwise, all citizens of this nation are due equal respect.

(That some of those citizens no longer understand the duties attendant to citizenship, and therefore unthinkingly act in slavish, servile, or selfish ways, thus relinquishing our respect, could be the topic of another 10 gazillion posts; but it is not relevant here.)

Making grammar fun

Over at Asylum.

And with significantly less ranting than you would hear here.

We’re big, we’re smart, we’re human: we’ll muddle through!

Getting to the pointe

And for the all-important second post, the second-most annoying (to me) modern language ill-usage:

pointe

where the perfectly good English word point will do.

It’s (notice my lovely well-placed apostrophe) one of those real estate marketing things. Let’s pronounce it poin-tay. For years we have considered daring nighttime forays to place the accent mark this monstrosity is clearly demanding onto the signs of the various pretentious apartment complexes that claim to be Pointes:

Sun Pointe

Nature Pointe

Centre Pointe (a double abomination)

Spare us. We already know that bad spelling commands an extra $100 a month in rent:

Krystal Pointe

You want to overcharge us for living in your precious apartment “communities”? Just do it. Now may we please return to good honest English?

We’re big, we’re smart, we’re human: we’ll muddle through!

It’s not that difficult, folks!

And here’s what it takes to get me blogging, when I have threatened to jump into the fray for years:

its/it’s

I am way over my personal lifetime limit of tolerance for

“The dog gnawed on it’s bone.  It bared it’s teeth.”

(What’s next?  “He considered hi’s options?”)

It’s easy.  It’s means exactly, always and forever, one thing only:

it is.

You use the apostrophe, you are writing, “It is…”  You want to write anything else?  Don’t use the frickin’ apostrophe!

We’re big, we’re smart, we’re human: we’ll muddle through!

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