A Bold New TV Series

Subject: A Bold New TV Series
From: John Gear <catalyst -at- PACIFIER -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 12 May 1995 09:58:00 PDT

Someone wrote:
>Thanks to those who have pointed out on this list, and to me privately,
>that "the most unkindest cut" is a quote from Shakespeare's JULIUS CEASAR.
>However, my original point still stands: the phrase is ungrammatical.
>And while the editors of TIME may have thought it clever, I'm afraid that
>it does a disservice to those of us who care more about correct grammar,
>and know less about Shakespeare, than they do. Shakespeare may be able
>to get away with it, but it's still wrong, and should not be quoted out
>of context, which gives the appearance of gross editorial negligence.

Music: Dum-dedumdum ... Dum-dedumdumdummmm.:
Voice over:
The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to
protect the tone deaf. These are the stories of language cops.

"My name's Writer, Tech Writer. My partner and I, Tech Editor, work these
mean streets along Publishers Row. Our job? Take the life out of language.
We make sure that only juiceless, lifeless stories and headlines make it out
of here. We protect those who, like me--(such as me? such as I? Hell with
it.)-- who care about correct grammar more than anything else."

"Our usual complaints are about Biblical and Shakespearean allusions. The
geek scribblers who write these headlines just can't pass up a chance to
show how much they know. You never see a baseball season without at least
five stories called "In the Big Inning." You never see fortune having
anything but "slings and arrows" and always being outrageous.

"That's where we come in. We lean on the geeks until they change the
headlines to something real, like "Cleveland loses again." We change all
that crap about slings and arrows and outrageous fortune to "very bad luck."

"Besides, those damn allusions to Shakespeare are just too hard to police.
You get some geek writer putting in something about Hamlet or Iago in a
story and you've got yourself a week of work trying to figure out if they're
calling someone a homo or something. All my life I thought Brutus was from
a cartoon--jeez, I find out he's some character in a dress who likes to
ventilate people with a shiv. You see a lot of ugly things in this job."

"It's a stupid job, but we like to do it. Our goal is to make sure
everything reads like a DOS manual, because we know that no one reads those.
And taking the joy out of language is what we get paid to do. We help make
sure no one ever reads anything that will make them stop and wonder about
why the writer did that. You let that happen and then people will start to
make connections between what they're reading and something they read
before. What a mess that would be. The next thing you know they'd start
thinking. Can't have that."

"On Friday May 12th, my partner and I ..."
John Gear (catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com)

"It is impossible to dissociate language from science or science from
language.... To call forth a concept, a word is needed; to portray a
phenomena [sic], a concept is needed. All three mirror one and the same
reality." -- Lavoisier


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