Daily Nexus humour columnist Dylan James did a push-up for every grammatical mistake his editor fixed in his opinion column (“Grammar Nazi Joins Word Reich,” Daily Nexus, Feb. 3), but I’m afraid he has one push-up to go. He outstandingly began his rant on society’s general linguistic incompetence with a descriptive portrayal of the minutes preceding Obama’s inauguration, and went on dramatically to describe his devastated state (popped eye-veins, etc.) upon observation of the inaccurately labeled event.
It is probably fortunate for James that the rest of Obama’s inauguration was a blur; had he witnessed the split infinitive in the speech, I imagine the consequential suffering would have been perilous. Through the insistent sound of the surf and the festive clinking of thrilled students’ glasses, I heard Barack’s bold and fateful statement: “We’ll begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.”
How am I supposed to take seriously Barack’s big plans for U.S. involvement in the Middle East when he’s splitting infinitives like he invented the English language and can stick to its rules is at his discretion? It’s hard to feel the epic magnitude – historicality, if you will – of the event when such grammatical misuses are being reinforced to helpless products of the media worldwide that are simply in search of some Hope and “Yes we can!”
As for that push-up, Dylan James, I advise you to control your language next time you attempt to rally fellow grammar Nazis. “Rise up and help transform the very building blocks of society, language!” How am I supposed to rise up when I’m contemplating whether you should have made “language” plural or “building blocks” singular!? Language is not building blocks! Language is a building block; languages are building blocks. It’s called agreement!
Now drop and give me one, Mr. James!
Technically, he does not owe any more pushups since his editor did not fix that mistake.
Author’s responseDear Rebecca(n)… Dylan here, the author of the Grammar Nazi column. First, thanks for reading my article! Good to see people taking an interest. However, I think you may have missed the irony. Look again and you’ll see the article contains several errors including the "building blocks" as you noted, the incorrect pedantry of the historic/historical bit and the redundant "literally" the article spoke of as abhorrent. Other deliberate errors were annoyingly corrected by the editor (thanks Adam (;). The point was to highlight the hypocrisy, the inconsistency between rhetoric and action, of those who claim to be grammar… Read more »
If it takes a whole paragraph to explain a joke, then the joke isn’t worth telling.