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Immoral and irrational welcome here

Your weekend in review and Monday morning start on the week:  

Item: Did you know that prescriptivists are more rational and more moral than descriptivists? Neither did I.

Item: Who will stand with me to defend Baltimore? You know why you’re still here. Say so.

Item: Your word of the week is gonfalon.



Posted by John McIntyre at 11:35 AM | | Comments (5)


Tut, tut, you're at it again, Mr McIntyre. Dr Hart did not say prescriptivists were more rational and moral than descriptivists. He said prescriptivism has a rational and moral worth that descriptivism lacks. The difference is not so subtle that it will escape you.

I take your point, Picky, about the narrow meaning of that particular sentence. But when it is taken in the context of the whole essay, which describes not only positions but the personalities of the people who hold them, I don't think that I have made an impermissible inference.

Besides, how can a quality be moral or rational apart from the people who espouse it?

Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble
Making a Giant hit into a double
Words that are weighty with nothing but trouble ...

Come, come, John. Kindness to animals may be moral, and Marxism may be rational, but what does that say of Hitler or Stalin?

So glad you chose that word. I knew about the Italians in the 15th century. Yet I was still confusing it with granfalloon, the Vonegut concept.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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