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!
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.
Couldn’t be clearer, more unignorable. Top comms.
You’ve let your class down, you’ve let the house down, you’ve let the school down, but worst of all…
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.
From last weekend’s Weekend, perhaps the ultimate Guardian cartoon, as well as about as good a definition of the word ‘bathos’ as you’re likely to find:
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.
Just received from China – a juicer to replace the glass one I put in the microwave to heat juice for blending with butter. (Not recommended.) My wife tells me they’re all using these these days, so I got one off ebay – barely north of a couple of quid and look at the thing:
Beautiful. Functional too, no doubt. And all for less than the price of a half of dog-breath.
A friend (an ex-coder) was grumbling about Plex’s bugginess, and lamenting the lack of pride in their work manifested by their programmers, who clearly, he claimed, were far too inclined to proceed on a ‘that’ll do’ basis, rather than testing things properly to ensure their robustness.
Something came to mind from my student days, and rather to my surprise I managed to track it down, from Norman Malcolm’s memoir of Wittgenstein:
I like to think there’s at least something of that spirit in the way I approach my work. Sloppiness in others’ copywriting doesn’t just grate, it arouses ‘genuinely moral disapproval’. Quite a lot of it about, I have to say…
As the election approaches, the torrent of meaningless drivel shows no sign of letting up…
You have to say, top gibberish. Top, top gibberish.