Things I’m Not Going to Blog About

Pink pens – seriously, people, if pink pens bother you a lot, I suggest you go over the recent legislation introduced into your state’s House of Representatives. That exercise will help you realize that, tragically, women have much bigger problems in this country today than pink pens. I can’t wait for the day when these pens will become the most pressing feminist issue. However, if you are burning with self-righteous anger over them today, I find that ridiculous. And that’s all I want to say about this.

Elections in Quebec – as much as I love Quebec, I believe that these elections are hopeless. Liberals (it’s Canada, people. These are not the same Liberals as we have in the US) are stupid, corrupt, and even more stupid. PQ hates immigrants (argue with me about this if you are an immigrant to Quebec. Otherwise, please hold your peace). CAQ’s platform is filled with lies. And nobody else has a chance. If I were in Quebec right now, I’d vote for the Green Party because at least I don’t despise them. And that’s all I want to say about this.

RNC and DNC – because I see no difference between them and the Oscars and life is too short to waste it on stupid, dishonest speeches made by people who rarely know how to deliver a good public talk. And that’s all I want to say about this.

Labor Day – because several people in my blogroll wrote about it a lot better than I ever could and I don’t want to regale anybody with a bunch of trivialities. And that’s all I want to say about this.

Clint Eastwood and his empty chair speech – because it’s wrong to laugh at the elderly and also because I hate how the only aspects of politics that many people seem to care about are the ones that resemble a bad comedy show. And that’s all I want to say about this.

First day of school – because I’ve already been teaching for 2 weeks and people who had longer holidays make me envious. And that’s all I want to say about this.

Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment and the resulting backlash – this was a stupid comment to make given the country where it was delivered. A few more comments like this one, coupled with a few more “Polish death camps”, and what used to be a sure-fire election win will start slipping out of Obama’s hands. And that’s all I want to say about this.

This is me, though. Everybody else should feel free to talk about these things in the comments section.

28 thoughts on “Things I’m Not Going to Blog About

  1. PQ hates immigrants (argue with me about this if you are an immigrant to Quebec. Otherwise, please hold your peace).(Clarissa)

    Some days you are just bang on. 🙂

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    1. Can we talk not about QC elections per se, but about QC politics in general? I, for instance, do not understand why there is no unabashedly federalist, pro-(educational)-choice party? As in freedom of choice for all. Including the freedom for francophones not to study any English whatsoever if they so wish.
      It also seems to me that the anglophones sold both the immigrants and their own values (for justice and freedom of choice) for the exemptions Bill 101 made for them… I understand, people are afraid of confrontations. But in some cases being somewhat confrontational is a good thing. Some more standing up for themselves and Canada by the anglophones could, for instance, drive PQ into more extreme us-versus-everybody-else stance, which could scare some francopohones away from PQ..

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      1. “I, for instance, do not understand why there is no unabashedly federalist, pro-(educational)-choice party”

        – That’s a good question. There are parties that address the needs of very minuscule portions of the population. I remember there was something like a Marxist-Leninist party that got three votes in the entire province.

        “It also seems to me that the anglophones sold both the immigrants and their own values (for justice and freedom of choice) for the exemptions Bill 101 made for them”

        – I noticed that whenever I talk to Anglos (including those who’ve been living in QC for generations), the answer is always, “In case this gets too bad, I’ll just leave.”

        “Some more standing up for themselves and Canada by the anglophones could, for instance, drive PQ into more extreme us-versus-everybody-else stance, which could scare some francopohones away from PQ..”

        – PQ is achieving that all on its own. The proposal to ban immigrants from access to anglophone CEGEPS is in a very scary territory already. The next step would be to prevent them from attending English-language universities.

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      1. I sometimes grade students’ homework with pink ink. Also with orange, brown, purple, green, aqua, and red. I am not going to read these posts, but both males and females can use pink ink, or any other color they can find. (I did have trouble finding orange ink.)

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      2. Hi Clarissa! The tone I was going for was less outrage and more why does everything have to be divided along gender lines (in fact, I do say it is silly to write about such a minor issue) but nevertheless – appreciate the linkage 🙂

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      3. @David: It isn’t the color of the ink that is the issue, it’s the fact that black ink pens which are pink on the outside are specifically labeled “for her.” Not the biggest issue in the world, but it seems the whole internet decided to write satirical reviews on the Amazon.com page for the pens.

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      4. Cool story bra. By the way, the entry I wrote exposing your bigotry is on the first page of results for “Clarissa’s Blog.” That’s worth a lot more attention than some stupid sexist Bic pens…

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  2. I’ve got something for you not to blog about: the demise of “whom”! I saw an article in my local newspaper about that and was vaguely traumatized, as my ability to use “who” and “whom” correctly (most of the time) is a small source of pride for me.

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    1. Indeed. I have decided that whenever any company’s advertisements use ‘well’ or ‘good’ incorrectly, or say or write ‘who’ when they mean ‘whom’ (or vice versa, as I have seen on one occasion) I shall pledge never to buy their products, no matter what happens. I do hope that my favorite companies do not trigger this pledge, but if so, so be it. Other travesties which will trigger such a response are using ‘they’re’, ‘there’, and ‘their’ incorrectly, or ‘its’ and ‘it’s’.

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      1. “I have decided that whenever any company’s advertisements use ‘well’ or ‘good’ incorrectly, or say or write ‘who’ when they mean ‘whom’ (or vice versa, as I have seen on one occasion) I shall pledge never to buy their products, no matter what happens. I do hope that my favorite companies do not trigger this pledge, but if so, so be it. Other travesties which will trigger such a response are using ‘they’re’, ‘there’, and ‘their’ incorrectly, or ‘its’ and ‘it’s’.”

        – I agree completely. If a company can’t hire a person who knows the basic rules of the English language, then I can’t trust that its product is made with care.

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    2. As Sapir (amongst others) predicted, the pronoun “whom” has been dying (especially in speech) for a long time now (it will likely retain currency in writing for longer than it does in speech, however). I think that it’s best to allow the inevitable to take place and let “whom” expire in archaicness. It is the only relative/interrogative pronoun to have an objective case, and therefore the forces of analogy will inevitably eliminate it. People who voice concern about the inevitable demise of whom are a lot like those who claim that we should remember to never split an infinitive, that nouns should never be verbed, and that we shouldn’t use an adposition to end a sentence with: prissy prescriptivist pedants who I wish didn’t believe such silly things and who I wish knew better.

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      1. “People who voice concern about the inevitable demise of whom are a lot like those who claim that we should remember to never split an infinitive, that nouns should never be verbed, and that we shouldn’t use an adposition to end a sentence with: prissy prescriptivist pedants who I wish didn’t believe such silly things and who I wish knew better.”

        – I don’t remember insulting you. Why do you suddenly attack me with such venom?

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      2. Prescriptive grammar, amongst other things (in no particular order) is wrong because: (1) it is scientifically incorrect, sometimes without any proper basis in reality; (2) the people who advocate such rules oftentimes either use them incoherently, or in a manner that reveals that those people do not know what they are talking about; (3) attempts to avoid breaking prescriptivist rules lead to awkward and stilted language; (4) it leads to completely unnecessary diglossia between the written and spoken forms of the language, making it more difficult (for those learning to read and write and those learning the language) than it has to be.

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        1. “Prescriptive grammar, amongst other things (in no particular order) is wrong because: (1) it is scientifically incorrect”

          – I have no idea what the word “scientifically” is doing here. What science are we discussing? Language isn’t a science nor is it supposed to be one.

          “the people who advocate such rules oftentimes either use them incoherently, or in a manner that reveals that those people do not know what they are talking about”

          – I really don’t like these passive-aggressive insults. Give specific examples of where I used anything inconsistently or stop making unsubstantiated accusations.

          “attempts to avoid breaking prescriptivist rules lead to awkward and stilted language”

          – Jeez, I wonder why over a 1,500 people want to read my awkward and stilted writing every day.

          ‘it leads to completely unnecessary diglossia between the written and spoken forms of the language”

          – Again, a completely baseless accusation. There is not enough alcohol in the world to make me say “She birthed”, “I gifted”, “there is no money nowhere” or “to completely and fully understand.” I neither speak nor write this way. A person who says “she birthed” is a person I never see again for any reason. Bleh.

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        2. Besides, I have to wonder at your own inconsistency here. If you are so opposed to “prescriptive grammar”, then how come you say “grammar is wrong” and “it is incorrect” instead of “Grammar are incorrect” and “it does incorrect”? Or do you believe you are being super consistent when you decry some rules while upholding others?

          I would have respected somebody who says honestly, “I find these rules a drag and I have no time to observe them.” But giving these aggressive and completely meaningless lectures to others is a very strange position to take.

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      3. Prescriptivist grammar decides which way to do something; it makes judgements about how to use language. Descriptive grammar merely describes language use. Basically, descriptive grammar tells you what you use, prescriptive grammar tells you what to use.

        Descriptive grammar is not the same as saying “there are no grammatical rules” or “anything goes”. Rather it involves observations of how people use language and then deriving and generalizing rules from those. For example, by observing that speakers of English, in unmarked transitive sentences, put subjects first, verbs second, and objects last, allows us to derive the descriptive rule “English word order is subject-verb-object (SVO)”. (Your example about using the word “grammar” as a singular can be handled similarly.) Hence, speaking SOV would be incorrect on descriptive grounds due to non-observation of its use. In addition, our SVO word order rule is quite testable: we can falsify it by finding a community of English speakers who use a different word order.

        By contrast, prescriptivist rules (for example: “do not split infinitives”) are not based on observation (people actually do split infinitives) and are not testable (being a hortative, it makes no claim about the state of the world, and therefore cannot be true or false, and therefore cannot be tested). On these grounds, prescriptive grammar is not scientific, while descriptive grammar is scientific.

        In this post” you object to verbing nouns; indeed, you explicitly say “It really really bugs me to hear people use nouns as verbs.” Deriving verbs in the manner you object to is verbing, and the resulting verb is known as a denominative verb. Now, there are hundreds of denominative verbs in English, and anyone who speaks the language uses them. Those denominative verbs were derived from nouns (verbed) in the exact same manner you object to, and if you use those denominative verbs you are doing exactly what “really really bugs” you. Why then, object to some denominative verbs but not others? And why use some and object to others? Unless all of these verbs are treated the same way you are being inconsistent in how you apply it.

        One such denominative verb is “to email”. According to here, the noun “email” dates to 1979, and the verb “to email” to 1983. It seems pretty obvious that the verb was verbed from the noun. Therefore, anyone who uses the verb “to email” is doing what you object to. The same reasoning applies to the hundreds of other denominative verbs every English speaker uses.

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        1. ” For example, by observing that speakers of English, in unmarked transitive sentences, put subjects first, verbs second, and objects last, allows us to derive the descriptive rule “English word order is subject-verb-object (SVO)”. (Your example about using the word “grammar” as a singular can be handled similarly.) ”

          – If you observe the way my students write (from the samples I give on my blog, for example), you will see the following things that happen overwhelmingly in almost every piece of writing:

          1) Double, triple and quadruple negatives.
          2) “he do”, “I be”, “she have.”
          3) extremely arbitrary word order.
          4) a confusion between its, it’s, there, their and they’re.
          5) a confusion between adjectives and adverbs.
          6) teached, speaked, writed, and their friends.
          7) sentences that lack verbs altogether.

          These are all people who don’t speak a word of any language other than English, by the way.

          Now a question: do you believe I should not correct these mistakes simply because many people (99% of all students for sure and some academics as well) make them?

          “Now, there are hundreds of denominative verbs in English, and anyone who speaks the language uses them. Those denominative verbs were derived from nouns (verbed) in the exact same manner you object to, and if you use those denominative verbs you are doing exactly what “really really bugs” you. Why then, object to some denominative verbs but not others? And why use some and object to others?”

          – Condescension is annoying. As I explained on various other occasions, the verbs used as nouns that bug me are the completely avoidable ones. If there is a perfectly beautiful expression “gave birth” the only reason to use the extremely ugly “birthed” is laziness and the total absence of Sprachgefühl.

          “It seems pretty obvious that the verb was verbed from the noun.”

          – Since we have started being condescending anyways, I have to mention that people who say “the verb was verbed” should abstain from lecturing others on good writing.

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  3. (As you are a multilingual person and a non-native English speaker, I’d actually be really interested to see what you thought about English pronouns).

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  4. I’ve been in school for a month (just uploaded my first marking period grades today, in fact). Every time I read a “first day of school” post now (as in, from the past week or so), I find myself fighting the urge to comment with only, “YOU ARE A MONTH TOO LATE WITH YOUR PRECIOUS ‘ADVICE’. SCREW YOU.”

    I mean, I don’t actually do it. But it’s there in my head, every time. 😀

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