Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grammar Assholes

The thing about blogging, for better and for worse, is that it is temporal. Time after time I find an article about which I ought to say something but then a day passes and that article's relevance declines.

But as many of you know, I love the snarky or angry or simply biting review. So at least some of you will appreciate the asshammering that Louis Menand once gave to Lynne Truss, the person who not so long ago made us all feel bad about our mastery of grammar.

90% of the shit that I write I do with virtually no idea of its grammatical accuracy. And the other 10% is done (passive voice!) with an awareness that while I may not get this crazy language of ours, I have a feel for it. So on the one hand I have a deep and abiding respect for the Lynne Truss types in this world.

On the other hand, if you are going to be a sanctimonious grammar gasbag who writes books making the rest of us feel bad, then you probably should not be called out in The New Yorker for being sanctimonious grammar douche runoff. And so go fuck yourself. (Thineself? Your Self? One's selfness? Hey, you figure it out. You're the goddamned expert.)


montana urban legend said...

I don't mind being called to task by online, freelance grammarians who can actually criticize my ideas and come up with their own as well.

However, those annoying triflers who can do neither should be shot and killed - in a strictly metaphorical sense, of course.

Steve said...

Is this the same person who spends 60% of his teaching time lecturing on the use and non-use of the venerable semicolon?

dcat said...

There is a difference, of course, between the role of a teacher who is supposed to be helping people improve their writing and people writing books about how bad grammar is a plague. Part of my job is to teach people how to write. I do not apologize for that. But it is unlikely that I will write a book about semicolons and then misuse semicolons! (60%? Try one class based on writing after I hand back the first papers.)


Karen said...

If one pays attention, and aspires to make the "grade" in Dr. Catsam's class, he will thus make one aware of how they write. simply put your writing improves dramatically. As a former student who by the third class attained The Grade I am thankful for his criticism .

dcat said...

Thanks Karen. I hope all's well!