Author Archives: Alan Paterson

I believe!

Interesting review in The Guardian of a book looking into how shadowy backstagers helped turn ‘the world’s most gifted media troll’ into its most powerful man:

‘having coherent beliefs’ is excellent!

Faced with recent/current media frenzies, one could perhaps add to the normies’ workload maintaining a basic acquaintance with statistics and at least some grasp of historical precedent. To quote a recent article by Simon Jenkins: “In 1999 European Union scientists warned that BSE “could kill 500,000 people”. In total, 177 Britons died of vCJD.”

Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam…

I hardly ever check out my spam folder, but a valid email recently got misdirected, which is how I found myself in The Dark Place. Where I found, among many other wonders…

I count six basic grammatical errors. An impressive tally, for a brief message offering writing expertise. I must visit the spam folder more often!

And one more thing

I’m always heartened to see pedantics give way to pragmatics when it comes to punctuation. This, recently, on the Oxford comma:

Good for the AP! Half-remembered grammatical rules, mostly rooted in a public school reverence for Latin, ceding ground to clear communication, inch by blustering inch.

Pennies & pounds & pedantry

Just received this from my bank:

Why is there a comma after my name? (But not after Yours sincerely. None would be better, but if one, why not t’other?)

Why is GOLD CARD rendered thus, twice. Gold Card would be less gratuitously shouty.

But worst of all, why ‘december Statement’? ‘Statement’ shouldn’t be initial cap, December absolutely should.

(I could quibble further about the constipated tone generally – ‘queries regarding this matter’ and the like – but I won’t.)

And this from the Head of Banking Services at one of Britain’s leading retail banks. Just, shoddy.

Bam bam bam

Reading the truly extraordinary ‘Fire and Fury’ – Michael Wolff’s account of life in the early Trump White House – terrifying and hilarious by turns, I ran into the opening of an early speech:

I was struck by the brevity of the sentences. Word counts of seven, six, three, three, four, four…

These are not the word counts of the average speech. Indeed, I don’t think you’d find many speeches above school debating society level featuring such brief sentences, one after another. But they work. In their bam bam bam simplicity, they connect at the most fundamental level with Trump’s core constituency. It’s the rhythm as much as anything you might call meaning that conveys the only message that really matters: he’s one of us; he’s like me.