Monday, August 20, 2012

Does getting it right matter? Not at the New York Times

A story in the New York Times in July said Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University, "was convicted last month of being a serial pedophile."

That, of course, is arguably wrong, pedophilia being a psychiatric condition or psychological tendency, not an act. You wouldn't call someone found guilty of stealing from a store a convicted kleptomaniac, would you?

No. He or she is a convicted shoplifter. Similarly, Sandusky is not a convicted pedophile, he is a convicted child molester or abuser. (The pairing of convicted and serial is problematic, too, unless serial attacks are a crime separate and distinct from individual attacks.)

The Times' imprecise use of pedophile reminds me of a similar unacknowledged Times mistake, a post about which I reproduce below. In neither case is the Times' mistake likely to confuse readers. But in neither case is the language precisely correct, either. It's disappointing that that is good enough for the New York Times.
========
(Ed. note: This error, published by the New York Times Aug. 6, 2011, remains uncorrected and unacknowledged as of Oct. 3 Oct. 16 Oct. 28 Dec. 11 Dec 18,  Jan. 23, 2012 Jan. 30, 2012 March 25, 2012 June 9 August 20. I don't know why an editor has not corrected the mistake. It's not as if the story's author is Bono, or anything.)

The New York Times recently published the following in its online edition:

NEW NFL RULE IS LIKELY  TO LIMIT KICKOFF RETURNS
By JUDY BATTISTA
c.2011 New York Times News Service

It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to be an NFL kick returner, to peer toward the sky, hoping to catch a wobbling ball, while thousands of pounds of opponents thunder toward you. It is going to take more — maybe much more — this season.
In The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defined chutzpah as "gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible 'guts,' presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to." He also called it "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan."

Chutzpah means audacity, in other words, not, as the Times seems to think, bravery. Sure, nerve is a component of and near synonym for both, but this does not mean audacity and bravery are themselves synonymous.
***
Or maybe they have become synonymous, which raises an interesting question: Who determines what's linguistically right and wrong? Respectable authorities, of which the Times is unquestionably one? Trouble is that, while writing and editing at the Times have become sloppier in absolute terms, in relative terms, both may be stronger than before.

That is, though the Times has in recent years given space to Bono and allowed usages once considered mistakes ("Prosecutors like Rudolph W. Giuliani busted the mob, or tried to," New York Times, Aug. 25, 2011), it is surrounded by outlets that care even less about getting things right: newspapers that have de jure or de facto eliminated their copy desks, Web sites that make the most basic editing mistakes and refuse to acknowledge and correct their errors, crime novels that misuse loathe for loath or think that the vibrating organs that enable human speech are vocal chords rather than cords.

So, who decides what's right? Standardized English spelling and, possibly, grammar, meant little before the rise of mass literacy from the middle of the eighteenth century; who says they have to mean anything now? Read loathe for loath or vocal chords for cords, and you'll still probably get what the author intended. Is literacy, beyond the minimum functional level, a luxury? Does getting it right matter?

Comments from readers, writers, editors, and, if any wish to join in, publishers welcome.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011, 2012

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68 Comments:

Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Chutzpah is completely wrong in this context. Chutzpah means effrontery.

Chutzpah is using a word like chutzpah when you don't really know what it means.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

She probably would have been better using the word cojones which I'm assuming she would have been more familiar with but the Times is a "family newspaper" and reporters aren't allowed to use the word cojones.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The misuse of a Yiddish word was especially amusing in a newspaper sometimes derided by bigots for being run by Jews.

If the reporter didn't know what chutzpah meant, where was the copy desk? And if a copy editor pointed out the mistake and was overruled, shame on the New York Times.

Cojones might have worked, as any number of military metaphors would have. In a pinch, the writer could have played it straight. Instead, she got it wrong.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

The copy desk was probably in Martha's Vineyard.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I once had an English professor (that is a professor who was from England) who occasionally used the word chutzpah and pronounced it
chut-spa...

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I know some of the Times’ copy editors. None summers on the Vineyard, as far a I know.

For the reasons I pointed out in my previous comment, once one recognizes the reporter didn’t know what the word meant, it’s hard to assign blame. The copy editor might have been equally ignorant, but he or she might also have recognized the error, pointed it out, and been overruled. That copy editor might have run into a situation like the one I wrote about here..

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Chut-spa! How utterly charming!

September 01, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

He was a charming old duffer. Before our tutorials began he always asked the same question "dry or sweet?"

He was referring to the sherry.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I do so love the English and their quaint manners.

I wonder if chut-spa ever found a home in English speech as anything other than an isolated jocular usage.

I have occasionally admired the blitheness with which educated English speakers mispronounce foreign words and names. There is something to be said for the boldness with which this proclaims, "We are claiming the word for our language and pronouncing it accordingly." This can be easier to take than NPR announcers who strain mightily to pronounce knee-hahr-RAAAAAAAA=hua correctly while mangling English grammar.

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

I like the chutzpah joke about the man who kills his mother and father. When he's brought before court and found guilty he asks the judge for leniency. The judge asks him why he thinks he should be shown leniency and he says 'Because I'm an orphan, your honour.'

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

I'm sleepheaded this morning, Peter. I should have read your post just a tiny bit more closely. Still, a good joke is always worth repeating.

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous Laurie King said...

I believe that "Prosecutors like Giulani" is correct. "Like the others" is correct; "Like the others are" is not.
Or have I simply not had my morning coffee yet?

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

I'm with Laurie King on this. What ancient rule were you referring to, Peter? Besides, I like Giuliani in that context.

Hmm. I get upset when people confuse lie and lay. Happens quite frequently in novels published by the big six. No wonder I get irritated by some of the picayune objections of my past copy editors. ("picayune" checked in Webster's, which is the authority for American English spelling and usage)

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Yvette said...

I was reading a rather interesting post on some vintage movie or other yesterday and came across the one word I cannot stomach being used incorrectly.

I refer to using 'drug' when meaning 'dragged'. I stopped reading immediately.

I am tempted to use this as my blog tagline:

Ladies and gentlemen, the past tense of drag is DRAGGED not drug.

I've only noticed this being used widely in the past few years. What's going on?

(This is almost as bad as pronouncing 'aks' for 'ask'.)

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I should have read your post just a tiny bit more closely. Still, a good joke is always worth repeating.

I agree, solo. By the way, have you heard the one about the man who killed his parents ...

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Laurie, here’s one summation of the like/such as argument. The issue is not clear-cut, even among people who worry about these matters for a living. In any case, my point was less to take a stand one way or the other than to point out that the Times has changed its practice. And if my reading is any guide, it has.

Needless to say, if line-editing fiction, I would not indiscriminately strike out likes or such-ases, especially if doing so would make a sentence sound stilted. At most, I might make a grammatical note that author or publisher would be free to reject.

I earn my living as a newspaper copy editor, by the way, and I’ve line-edited and proofread books (including crime novels!) on the side, so these are living issues for me, and not academic debates. I get excited arguing about like and as.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I.J., see my reply to Laurie King.

I'm with you on lie and lay, but any good dictionary with usage or etymological notes will point out that the "wrong" usage has a long history. The real test will come if you have a criminal seek refuge in the hills in one of our novels. Does he lie low, or does he lay low?

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yvette, I wonder if that usage that drives you nuts is humorously nostalgic use of a low dialect form. I have read that the old baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean, when he became a broadcaster aftet his playing career, once told his listeners that "He slud into third."

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

Ah, yes. The "lay low" problem. It points out that we're dealing with a living language that changes even as we speak. I'm still stumbling over the erosion of "whom". Come to think of it, there are a number of situations these days when I search for an alternative because the correct form has become stilted to the ears of the average reader.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I always say that someone in my profession needs to be liberal in understanding how the rules work but conservative in applying them.

We may not be able to win the who/whom battle, but we can at least wage an effective rear-guard action with the help of suggestion from my own newspaper's stylebook, believe it or not. "Who" functions a subject, "whom" as an object.

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

Does getting it right matter?

If usage was deemed to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, that would put copy editors out of a job.

So I say to hell with that. Let's turn nature upside down and make usage prescriptive amd keep copy editors in a job.

Vive le copy editeur!

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, I hope you forgive the absence of the subjunctive in my previous comment. I'm not entirely sivilised in my use of language, but I live in hope that prolonged exposure to your blog will have a salutary effect on me.

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

LOL. He keeps us on our toes anyway.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I try to make the world better, one vocal cord at a time.

Usage is de facto being deemed descriptive rather than prescriptive, if only for economic and social reasons. Newspapers choose to focus cuts on the copy desk, publishers (I am told) want authors to pay for editing that publishers once would have paid for, and people take social media seriously. Does this mean we are becoming less civilized or somehow poorer as a culture? I don't know. Does it mean we are becoming somehow less literate? Yes. The question is, does this matter?

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I should add that the very notion of a copy desk that takes its job seriously -- or at least takes seriously the parts of the job that I take most seriously -- makes people in a newsroon nervous, including my own colleagues.

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

Does it mean we are becoming somehow less literate? Yes.

I would say differently literate, Peter, not less literate.

Once people reach middle age, as you and I have, it's easy to be nostalgic for the language we grew up with and forget that our elders frequently looked down on our usage the way we look down on young people's usage now.

Bring Shakespeare back to life or even the most mediocre of Elisabethan writers and have one of them look over your shoulder as you do some copy editing. How many marks out of ten do you think you would get?

Of course copy editing has to do with more than usage. I've been reading Cultural Amnesia by Clive James recently. In the acknowledgements he says:

A final but vital acknowledgement should go to my copy editor, Trent Duffy, who, as well as spotting ambiguities lurking in the syntax, saved me from many serious blunders.

I have no doubt that was a genuine compliment. Copy editors are trained to look at language in a certain way, and very few writers are trained copy editors. James is a decent writer but I'm sure even he was happy to have a good copy editor look over his work.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I will accept differently literate, but I'll quibble with your point about nostalgia for one's own usage.

The bulk of my linguistic gripes are not with those crazy kids today, but with reporters and editors, many of whom are my age and older. I'm also quite aware that usage can change, not because of any special sensitivity on my part, but simply because I read books from times before my own. Phone and pro, for instance, were sufficiently novel in P.G. Wodehouse's time that he would sometimes write them as 'phone and pro', the apostrophes to indicate abbreviations that had yet to acquire the strength and maturity to stand on their own as independent words.

While recognizing that usage can change, one must understand that change is no mere matter of one usage calmly giving way to the next. There is bound to be resistance (except in top-down, totalitarian regimes). Thus, while my own newspaper has recently decreed that because of and due to are interchangeable, I will continue to recognize the traditional distinction between the former's use with verbs and the latter's with nouns. e.g., He was absent because of illness. but His absence was due to illness.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Here’s a discussion of because of and due to. No doubt fine literature will be written after the distinction has disappeared from English. But as long as even one speaker remains who remembers the distinction, the distinction lives.

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

But as long as even one speaker remains who remembers the distinction, the distinction lives

If you are the only person who remains who remembers the distinction, then I say long live the distinction!

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, thanks! I am nominally in a position of some power to influence language change. That's not to toot my own kazoo, but rather to state a social fact about such change.

Another dynamic of conflict happens when newspapers will make a change such as because of/due to, but retain pointless and pedantic distinctions in other areas, as if to bolster their own self-esteem against accusations that they are giving in to the illiterates. That inconsistency drives me nuts even more than the changes themselves.

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, Seeing the acronym "NFL" I probably wouldn't have read any further, so your post drew my attention to the misuse of a word and this interesting thread. Let's pretend it wasn't misused, or used as the author apparently intended. Do the words "NFL kick returner" and "chutzpah" even belong in the same paragraph? I find the pairing jarring. I think pairing a sports action with chutzpah, or the lack of it, sounds awkward at best (and you discovered the worst).

I.J., re "lie and lay." This drives me nuts, too. Esp. when I see it in a print an, an ad that must have had dozens of pairs of eyeballs looking at it before it was printed. That said, "to lay" is a real and correct verb for me when referring to a horse's position during a race. I know that "he was lying third on the backstretch" is correct, but in this context it sounds wrong and almost everybody says "he was laying...". Somehow, lying makes it sound as though the horse "lay down" (!) while "laying" references its position while (whilst) running.

solo, thanks for "Elisabethan." Heh, heh.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, I could imagine chutzpah having a place in a sports story. A player might have a horrible year, then have the chutzpah to demand a raise, or a batter might look at a called third strike right down the middle of the plate for the fourth time in a game, then have the chutzpah to argue with the umpire.

Incidentally, your reference to NFL as an acronym may be an example of language change in action. Strictly speaking, an acronym is not just any abbreviation, but one that forms a word and is pronounced as such: NATO. Scuba. Radar, but not USA or FBI. The words for abbreviations that are not sounded out as words – I have just found out that the word is initialism — has never caught on, and acronym has understandably come to take on that meaning as well.

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Strictly speaking, an acronym is not just any abbreviation, but one that forms a word and is pronounced as such

You know, I hesitated commenting in this thread because of and due to the fact that I suspected I would just add to the errors!

I think I'll just go lay down...

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The growing meaning of acronym is a change I can understand, like it or not, and I'm not lying.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter, Elisabeth

Yes there is something incongruous about the use of the world chutzpah in an NFL story. When I think NFL I think brute force and Texas and cheerleaders and Baptists. When I think hockey, I think the frozen north, French accents and Catholicism. Basketball takes me to some funky hard court in the South Side of Chicago. Baseball however is the quintessential New York sport. When I think baseball I think the 1950's, the Brooklyn Dodgers, The New York Giants, kosher hot dogs and Judaism.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Sid Luckman? Benny Friedman? What are they, chopped liver? You have some chutzpah, you goyishe kop.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, perhaps for the very reason you suggested, I would have enjoyed the humorous incongruity of chutzpah in a football story -- if the reporter had had the seichel and the copy desk the cojones to see that it was used correctly.

September 01, 2011  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

A player might have a horrible year, then have the chutzpah to demand a raise, or a batter might look at a called third strike right down the middle of the plate for the fourth time in a game, then have the chutzpah to argue with the umpire.

Peter, I think you've bolstered my contention. These are not "sports actions" but rather REactions. Chutzpah might have a place in a "sports story" but not in referring to the action of the peering and wobbling kick returner or the running, jumping, hitting, pitching, throwing, etc. player.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, I see your point. But I'll keep trying to think of a place where the word could apply to game action.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I’ve had what may another example of language change at work this evening. Federal appeals courts in the United States are organized by circuits, each one numbered and covering several states or territories. Thus, my newspaper frequently publishes stories concerning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which has appeals jurisdiction for federal courts in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and the Virgin Islands.

The circuit part of the name dates back to the days when judges on horseback rode a circuit from place to place within the area their courts covered. They no longer do this, and reporters have taken to using circuit as a shorthand for the court. So one gets reporters writing things like “The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Third Circuit’s decision.”

I regard that as a barbarous usage born of ignorance. Others may see it as understandable change resulting from the disappearance of the conditions that gave circuit its original meaning in the courts' names. In fact, it’s probably both.

September 01, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

You might like this

or it might make your head explode.

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"... Barcelona and Scotland, two cities ..."

That's a joke, right?

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That piece answers the question I ask in this post's title, and the answer is no.

September 02, 2011  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

He wasn't referring to Scotland, CA--a smudge on the map out by San Bernardino--was he? Nah...

I imagine this boob, like most of his ilk, would reply either "Whatever" or "You know what I meant" when confronted with this gaffe.

The rest of his essay (or whatever it is) is almost incomprehensible. As my father would say: "Sounds like he's on something."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I thought he was a retard. It turns out that he's an actor.

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

Living in Ireland I tend towards the attitude that the Barbarians never came...

Thanks for such a good post that, as ever, produced more posts...

"moderntwist2.blogspot.com/2011/09/why-so-many-words.html#links"

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Language is used to exclude people who don't know the code? I'll grant that Steven Weber uses the language as well as I do when he talks his producer into giving me a lucrative co-starring role in Weber’s next television series. It’s not that I can’t act, I just don’t know the code.

I had never heard of Weber, and from the wretchedness of his prose and the immaturity of some his comments, I’d assumed he was some young punk. In fact, he’s fifty years old and a successful actor. Remind me of this the next time I appear to take a condescending attitude toward young people and they way they speak and write.

September 02, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

I enjoyed that Steven Weber piece, the way one enjoys watching a car crash or a train wreck.

Back in the day when I had a TV, I enjoyed the sitcom Wings. But Thomas Haydn-Church as the Moron and David Schramm as the Crumudgeon were the funny ones. Steven Weber was just there, a kind of pretty-boy nonentity. I thought he played the part well, but perhaps it just came naturally to him.

Reading Pretty Boy Steve's blog I'm convinced he served five to ten on a Humanities course in an American University and absorbed all the trendy leftist views taking such a course implies.

After coming back from The Europe Place (sheer genius, no satirist could do better), he finds Americans are 'material-obsessed drones'.

And then he has this to say:

And one sees most clearly the utterly biased corporate media using all manner of cannily manipulative techniques to corral the nation towards its own selfish aim: to ensure profit at the expense of people. And one sees this only after having been removed from the sheep-dip that is American corporate media submersion. Only it's not parasites being cleansed from the sheep's wool, it's the ability to know when the wool's been pulled over its eyes.

This is the cutprice version of the leftist claptrap espoused by Foucoult, Althusser, Eagleton, Jameson, Gramsci and every other Marxist influenced moron that is peddled in English Departments in American Universities.

Steven Weber is typical result of a modern day liberal education in the US.

On his blog, he calls himself a wise-ass. Well, I suppose we should give him credit for being half right.

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, you may recall from previous posts here that I read a bit of Foucault some time back. I was surprised that, at least later in his career, when he wrote about personal rather than political issues, he could be coherent and even modest. Weber is neither.

Weber's piece was unspeakable and is part of the same cultural phenomenon that has people like George Clooney and things like the Huffington Post taken seriously. This is not, of course, to suggest that Clooney would write as badly as Weber does.

I am staggered that commenters on Weber's piece take it seriously, whether they agree with Weber or not. To them, coherence does not matter.

September 02, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Solo

You're forgetting the great Tony Shalhoub. Wasn't he the Andy Kaufmann like mechanic on Wings? Or am I thinking of something else.

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I never understood the Andy Kaufman cult, though I'll admit he could act better than Steven Weber can write. And Tony Shalhoub is good.

September 02, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

You got the right guy, Adrian. But he played an Italian taxi driver, not a mechanic. Thomas Haden Church (Sideways, Spiderman 3) played the moronic mechanic (are there any other kinds).

Wikipedia says Shalhoub, of Lebanase descent, was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Wouldn't have guessed that in a million years.

September 02, 2011  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

typical result of a modern day liberal education in the US.

You might have something there, solo.

While in the grocery store today, I saw what I imagine was meant to be some kind of generic, one-size-fits-all-grades Back to School supplies display. Still, the cardboard placards luring customers to the display were a bit worrisome:

"College Life Essentials. Save Big on Everything You Need!" Directly below that sign was this one: "Coloring and Puzzle Books".

But I must say I resent your comment re mechanics: moronic mechanic (are there any other kinds).

My mechanic -- Kent Clemens, if you're out there, this means you! -- is a genius. He has kept my 38-year-old VW SuperBeetle going in tip-top condition for about 25 years now.

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Would today's college students bother with coloring books when they could probably get a coloring app for their smartphones?

I'd always thought that if a negative stereotype attached to car mechanics, it was that they were cheats, not morons.

September 02, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

Elisabeth, I was talking about fictional representations of mechanics. But my moronic comment was probably wrong there too. Still, it sounded good to me at the time I wrote it.

Obviously, I need an Elisabethan to put me right.

v-word: begulthy. I only mention that one because no one could accuse me of making it up.

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Andy Kaufman's Latka was more a simpleton than a moron, wasn't he -- not an eejit, in other words.

September 02, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

Elisabeth, you drive a VW SuperBeetle?

You're not from California, by any chance, are you?

September 02, 2011  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

You're not from California, by any chance, are you?

Yep, I'm a Cal-bred. Have lived elsewhere in the world but keep coming "right back where I started from."

My first car was a 1967 bright red VW Beetle, named Klaus. The current one is a bright Rallye gelb SuperBeetle, simply named Baby.

My mechanic drives a l960-something VW camper. I suppose you might say we were hippies, once upon a time. Although not together, in the same place, at the same time...

And the reason I've been going back and recommending him for 25+ years is that he is always upfront about what the car needs right now, what can wait, what it will cost, etc.

Promotional plug: the name of the auto repair shop is Wabbit Wepair, located in Venice, CA.

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Wabbit Wepair? That's adorable! How can you call someone who runs a place like that a moron? Don't you feel widiculous, Solo?

September 02, 2011  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, you are a wascal! The shop was named during the time VW manufactured the Rabbit. And as a person with art history in his checkered background, you are probably familiar with this image, the shop's logo.

September 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You may recall my having mentioned my 1978 pan-North American trip, which took me to Los Angeles. I did this trip in a friend's 1978 Volkswagen Rabbit that bore a vanity license plate reading: WABBIT.

It was embawassing then, and it's now less widiculous now, thwee decades later. I still wince at the memowy.

September 02, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

Snort!

September 03, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I thought my friend may have deserved a boot to the keister rather than a snort for WABBIT.

But I won't kick Elisabeth's car-repair shop in the heinie. Its logo and excellent service save it from that fate.

September 03, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wong with "Wabbit"?

Elmer Fudd

September 03, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

"Remind me of this the next time I appear to take a condescending attitude toward young people and they way they speak and write."

You're safe from any such intervenion.

I'm usually too busy removing the many beams from my own eye to waste energy worrying about the motes in my brother's, as the old saying goes.

It's worth recording that I took to computing with little enthusiasm but with full comprehension that if I did not study the new forms of communication a time would come when I would have absolutely no idea what other people were talking and writing about.

It's about ten years since a young person announced with admirable pride that they were a "web head" (I had a sudden horrific mental vision from natural history).They also mentioned "string theory".

Truth be told, it has been very tiring experience indeed...

September 04, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

When it comes to technology, I am less scornful ot the jargon and the techniques than I am of the promoters, publicists, and worshipers.

September 04, 2011  
Blogger Linda said...

Deep-seated vs deep-seeded. ABC news saying former FBI Director Herbert Hoover. Blood splatter vs spatter.

September 13, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Splatter/spatter is a fairly common mistake, though nowhere near as frequent as loathe for loath, or vocal chords for cords. Deep-seated/deep-seeded may be an up-and-comer in the error leage. Thanks.

September 13, 2011  

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