Thursday, December 15, 2005

Outrages

The political debates promise to be enough to put anyone to sleep. Thankfully, we have the outrage of the day to entertain us: Ed Schreyer’s decision to run for Parliament. Does the man have no shame? But on to more serious matters. I heard a CNN announcer mention the “five-week anniversary” of a recent event. This particularly egregious error seems to be getting more common, with “anniversary” now being attached to any period of time at all. (Is this now the two-minute anniversary of my beginning this blog entry? Break out the cake and party hats!) Even “two-year anniversary” is about as bad. Another thing: I’d like to know when “woman” became an adjective, as in “woman astronaut” or “woman writer”. How about making this sort of construction illegal, and punishing abusers by transporting them to Ellesmere Island, or at least putting them in the stocks for a day? (I guess I should consult a man lawyer I know.)

If you think I’m being picky, that’s nothing. Take the Oxford comma – also known as the Harvard comma, serial comma, or series comma. (Some smart alec is thinking, “Please…someone take the Oxford comma.”) If you know what I’m talking about, then you also know where I stand on the issue. If you don’t know, then have a look at the Wikipedia entry. And then have a look at the discussion page, where people almost come to blows over what the thing should be called. Now that’s picky! And fascinating. Perhaps it’s as bad – or excellent – as Russell Smith’s obsession with the correct way for a man to lace up his shoes.

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