Thursday, July 14, 2011

Liberty magazine

Liberty magazine, a long-running competitor to reason, which makes reason look like the quite moderate journal that it is, has ceased producing its print edition and is now solely on-line.

Looking about the web site today for the first time in a while - they have been on-line only since the end of 2010 - I found this most excellent rant by Stephen Cox (a professor of literature at UCSD) on the deeper social meaning of Weinergate. Here is a taster:
“Democrats consider the scandal all the more sad because Weiner is married to Huma Abedin, a hugely popular aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

Did you ever see that phrase before — “all the more sad”? If you haven’t, I’m not surprised. It’s one of those expressions that today’s journalists use when they need to get around the fact that they don’t know grammar. “More sad” means “sadder,” in your grandmother’s untutored but accurate vocabulary. The difference is that your grandmother knew how to form a common English comparative and therefore didn’t have to invent cumbersome phrases to circumvent the obvious.

So journalists are naïve about grammar — so what? Well, ex ungue leonem: they are also naïve about the rest of the world. Do you believe — does anyone believe — that Democrats went into terminal depression because of their sympathy for Huma Abedin, or that more than ten of them had ever heard of Huma Abedin? “Hugely popular”? Who’s buying this stuff? Hillary Clinton isn’t “hugely popular” — so how should Huma, her assistant, be? And are we supposed to believe that a top aide to one of the Clintons is to be pitied for her association with a sex scandal?
Good stuff!

No comments: