apparently I'm a bigoted hypocrite

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Sep 28 01:09:21 UTC 2012

On Sep 27, 2012, at 7:58 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> Ignore. Because your correspondent has already missed the point, you'll
> only be talking at cross purposes.
> He thinks you're saying "If it feels good, do it."
> It sounds as though his students are extremely unprepared to compete for
> jobs requiring a confident command of standard English (maybe especially in
> writing) and he's mad because you're implying that there's no quick fix.
> (I mean,  "no easy way to remedy the situation.")  So that's translated
> into an inference that you're saying almost anything goes -  because the
> kids have to rely on their own language savvy. (I mean, "sense of
> situational appropriateness.").
> If there's one thing I've learned from watching TV commercials, there's
> always a quick fix.

Especially when the commercials air during pre-election season.

> Anything else would be un-American.  So find a quick
> fix!

For example, if you find yourself tempted to end a sentence with a preposition, just put a ", darling" at the end. Or, if you prefer, ", you dolt".

"What are you looking at, darling?"
"Ending a sentence with a preposition is something I won't put up with, you dolt."

If you can't decide which strategy to apply, flip a coin. Works every time.


> On Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 7:29 PM, James Harbeck <jharbeck at>wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA>
>> Subject:      apparently I'm a bigoted hypocrite
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Sheesh, attempt to teach people nuances of how language works and how to =
>> use it effectively and get this kind of abuse -- from a comment at =
>> t/#comments :
>> Your advice doesn=92t help my students, who are grappling with learning =
>> English that is acceptable to employers and have been crippled in their =
>> basic educations by progressive theories so that employers reject them. =
>> Perhaps you think it is clever to suggest that students who have trouble =
>> competing with Ivy League graduates should thrive on messy English. In =
>> fact, you and the educators who agree with you cripple students from =
>> less-than-elite backgrounds. There is a vicious elitism in your and =
>> related progressive education theories which I struggle to combat. I =
>> notice that your own writing does not violate Grammar Girl=92s rules. =
>> Hypocritical theories like yours have victimized my students, and I =
>> can=92t help but suggest that your ideas are self-serving and bigoted. =
>> I=92m willing to bet that your own children won=92t be crippled the way =
>> the New York City school system has crippled my students.
>> Sigh. I have to go to the theatre. Anyone else want to respond to this =
>> guy before I get to it?
>> James Harbeck.=
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society -
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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