Woke up mildly feverish twice during the night and decided this morning, aching all over, to stay home from the paragraph factory today. But that does not mean that you are to be spared miscellaneous remarks.
Mencken: As I work through H.L. Mencken’s Prejudices series in the new Library of America edition, I have to keep reminding myself that what is wrote is nearly a century old: “For what the public wants—at least the American public—is rough work. It delights in vituperation. It revels in scandal. It is always on the side of the man or journal making the charges, no matter how slight the probability that the accused is guilty.”
Not edifying: Now that the New York City landmarks commission has removed an obstacle to the construction of a community center and mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center, we can expect to hear even louder braying against it from people portraying themselves as conservatives. What I wonder, without expecting to receive any explanation, is how these defenders of the Constitution in all its majesty square their opposition to this project with the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion.
Add to your vocabulary: Fritinancy draws attention to the word glurge, coined in 1998 to describe cloyingly sentimental stories typically circulated on the Internet. Patricia Chapin of Snopes.com, that invaluable exposer of bogus material, to describe the physical reaction—retching to such stories. Snopes, in fact, devotes an entire section to glurgery.
Snopes.com and PolitiFact.com merit your attention as correctives to the flood of bogus and distorted information that inundates you every day.
More outsourcing: Apparently American lawyers now write so badly that it has become necessary to send their work to India to get the grammar cleaned up. Russell Smith, who helped set up SDD Global Solutions, the cleanup crew, remarks that “high-quality, effective English writing has been out of fashion in the U.S. for decades.” Tell me about it. If only we had people in this country who were knowledgeable about grammar and usage and who could edit texts for greater clarity and precision ...