Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Stop Sporting With My Intelligence

This article explains why grammar is important. That is not the subject of the article. It's actually about the U.S. attorney issue. I am not giving an opinion of the subject matter, because I cannot get past the grammatical issues. Do they teach journalists anything about English grammar anymore? I stopped reading the news about two months ago. I only read headlines for a while. Lo and behold, when I started reading again I began to notice the dismal state of grammer in American journalism. It makes it impossible to understand what the writer meant to say. Here's my favorite sentence from the article:

"The Bush administration's efforts to use an obscure provision of the Patriot Act to replace U.S. attorneys it deemed too vigorous in investigating Republican officials, too slow in indicting Democratic public officials or too reluctant to investigate "voter fraud" -- a euphemism for attempting to suppress the minority vote -- caused me to re-think my opinion of the fairness of Western Pennsylvania's U.S. attorney, Mary Beth Buchanan."

It took me three tries to read the sentence and three more to make head or tail of it. I am still not entirely sure what it means. Furthermore, this article is the third one I have tried to read today. The others were too grammatically difficult for me to trudge through and this one has quickly joined their club.

I declare a war against bad grammar. My blog will fight this war until journalists begin inserting random smiley faces into articles and shortening words and phrases such as "you, your, yours, you are, laughing out loud and in my opinion. " At that time, the war will have been won, but not by me.


Foolio_Displasius said...

Viva la grammarluction!!!

In other words, bonne chance, ma cherie!

Tracy said...

While the sentence doesn't technically make any sense at all it does summarize well. I believe that most people read poorly anyway so they see the subtext of the sentence despite the poor construct.

The summary:

Bush to use an obscure provision to replace U.S. attorneys it deemed too vigorous, too slow, too reluctant to investigate "voter fraud" suppress the minority vote caused me to re-think fairness.

It buzzes over words that basically say that Bush is a power hungry political hack that fixes elections, hates minorities and isn't fair. The subtext is the only message as the text means nothing.

Esther said...

That's interesting. I do not read that way at all. I see the entire thing and it takes me a while to get the subtext. I have had to learn to break things down a lot to figure out what authors are writing. When reading Shakespeare I have to do stage instructions in my head to understand what's going on.

Anyway, now I understand that sentence! Thanks. I will still fight the war against bad grammar (notice I used the preposition "against", "on" would be incorrect grammatically speaking ;oP).