In an (half-page ad) open letter in the New York Times today from the National Italian American Foundation, chairman A. Kenneth Ciongoli wrote:
…many of us prefer the antics of Uncle Miltie and Don Rickles, who considered all American ethnics fair game.
I read an article in the California Law Review entitled “Is West Virginia Unconstitutional?”
It was over three sections and one hundred pages of footnotes, with some Civil War historical background and corresponding political environment and legal musing on the constitutionality of the state of West Virginia. The second section really made the argument, and thusly, the entire article can be summed up as follows:
“The constitutionality of the state of West Virginia hinges on the popular usage of the semicolon.”
That, and nobody seems to really care what a bunch of legal scholars going against conventional wisdom think.
I recently subscribed to Rolling Stone, mostly to indulge in Matt Taibbi’s articles and the best biweekly political barometer in print, “The Good, the Bad, and the Scary.” But I cannot abide by their tendency to print what amounts to a transcription of an interview.
It’s lazy writing at best, and filler at worst. I don’t care if it’s by the publisher himself, the indomitable Jann S. Wenner, buyer-out of Disney. I love the cover photo of Barack Obama looking happy and bashful, with only the mailing label obscuring part of his shoulder, but so much more could have been done here.
I started reading Barack Obama’s pre-Senate days book “Dreams From My Father” and the introduction alone was extraordinary in terms of comparative politics:
For the first time in many years, I’ve pulled out a copy and read a few chapters to see how much my voice may have changed over time. I confess to wincing every so often at a poorly chosen words, a mangled sentence, an expression of emotion that seems indulgent or overly practiced. I have the urge to cut the book by fifty pages or so, possessed as I am with a keener appreciation for brevity.
Imagine, we just might end up with a president who cares about the language he speaks and writes.
Is it contradictory for a grammarian to greatly enjoy lolcats?
Television news shows are terrible to watch, and I believe they contribute greatly to attention deficit disorder. You have the anchor talking, a ticker with news (usually poorly spelled), stock numbers, and graphics popping up left and right. Stories are short, lack context, and (especially with local news programs) the images are nothing more than filler and played over and over again. Each bit of news is designed simply to be digestible, and encourage no discussion or action.
Read a newspaper, dammit, and learn how to corroborate information.
I wrote two stories for the publication I work for and caught myself doing the same thing in each: relating the time (“last week,” “Sunday,” “today”) to when I wrote the article instead of when it is to be published. Keep this little detail in mind as you write for periodicals, or you’ll have a pissy copy editor at the other end.