Category Archives: Television

Beauty Overcomes Grammar

I’m watching Idol Gives Back on TV right now.  It’s heartbreaking.  (Click here to donate to Idol Gives Back, which divides the donations among six charities in the U.S. and in Africa.)

Many celebrities are making appearances on the show, including one of my favorite celebrity couples, David and Victoria Beckham.

Excerpts from their speech, which I wrote down as soon as I heard it:

Victoria: “David and myself are fortunate enough to be here [to be here to tell you to donate, etc. -- didn't get the whole thing].”
David: “Please join Victoria and myself in donating.”

The word myself is completely out of place.  It should be I in the first sentence and me in the second.

If you ever have doubt over whether you should say “and myself” — or “and I” for that matter — drop the other subject.

I am fortunate enough to be here — not myself is fortunate enough to be here.

Please join me in donating — not please join myself in donating.

I know that it’s not their fault.  The show’s writers are the ones to blame.  Though it’s within my rights to criticize them, I do feel a tad guilty insulting a good cause like this one. 

But I have to be honest with myself.  Even if they had written those awkward sentences themselves, I wouldn’t have minded.  They’re too damn good-looking.

Well, it wouldn’t be the first time beauty caused me to overlook grammar errors.  I think my friends know where I’m going with this one.  :-/

Please donate if you can afford to do so.  $10.00 buys a mosquito net.  That could save one or more lives in Africa.

IRONIC alert!

I’m watching American Idol right now and a commercial just came on for Milla Jovovich’s new clothing line at Target.  In the commercial, Milla and her design partner, Carmen Hawk, describe their designs.

The line features 1930s-style flowers incorporated in 1970s ways.  Milla then describes the line in a few words: “It’s whimsical; it’s fun; it’s ironic.”

Ironic.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves.  It seems like the word is only used correctly about 10% of the time.

(I can’t tell you how many times Paula Abdul has said things like, “I find it really ironic that you choose a song that would be so good for you!”)

So, this clothing line is ironic?  It’s entirely possible.  I’m sure there is a way to find this clothing line ironic.

Now, my question to you:

How could a clothing line be described as ironic?

Back in Massachusetts!

I’m back from New Mexico!  Here are a few things that I learned on my trip:

  • White Sands National Monument is unbelievable.  If you visit the state, you must visit this place!  It’s sand — technically, gypsum — but it looks like snow!  Check it out:
  • I noticed that most of the rural landscape looks just like the scenery in No Country for Old Men.  A few days later, I found out that the movie was filmed primarily in New Mexico!
  • If you are a RENT fan, or even if you’re only slightly familiar with the show, you will have the song “Santa Fe” stuck in your head for the duration of your visit.  (It didn’t help that we also stayed at a Holiday Inn, or that it began to snow on our last day…)

I’m glad to return to the blog.  Thanks for your nice emails during my time away!

I also made sure to catch the latest debate.

041.jpg

Yikes.

Bravo asks Project Runway fans:

From tonight’s episode of Project Runway

What do you think of Rami’s draping addiction?

A) Enough draping already!

B) Keep draping Rami!

Option A won with 72% of the vote.

I would like to see Rami covered with draping, though.

It would be so different if we added a comma….

I love this.

Source: “Good Grammar Is Hot” group on Facebook, posted by Corynne H.

The Soup’s take on How She Move

Reader Lisa sent me this awesome video of The Soup‘s interpretation of the film How She Move:

Love it!

In other news, I bought a new camera today — the Olympus FE-280, which I enjoyed immensely before losing it on New Year’s Eve — and will be trying it out at the Spice Girls concert tomorrow night!  :-) That means that there will be plenty of new pictures of local errors and grammar vandalism!

Thanks, Lisa.

Is this even legal?

Earlier today, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, I Don’t Like You In That Way, and I came across a curiously worded ad for an adult DVD rental service.

Read it closely:

porn.jpg

Really?  This was recommended by Oprah magazine?

Well, technically it’s O: The Oprah Magazine.

There’s no way that an ad for this appeared in O.  If it had, we would have heard about it now, with Oprah sending her Mafioso henchmen after the perpetrator.

I’m no legal expert, but are any of you?  Do any of you know if it’s legal for this ad to say it was endorsed by Oprah?  Or does it mean nothing because the magazine, though clearly implied, was technically correct?

Heh.  I know this isn’t exactly grammar, but it’s along the lines of something I think you’d like.

And, just because it made me crack up when I saw it:

drphil.jpg

A Lesson from the Best Show on TV

From 30 Rock:

Tracy Jordan, insane actor: Hey, boy. How are you doing?
Toofer, Harvard-educated comedy writer: I’m doing good.
Tracy Jordan, insane actor: No, you’re not, idiot! Superman does good. You do well. You gotta start taking care with your English, son!

30 Rock is the best, funniest and most unjustly ignored show on TV. Click here to buy the DVD on Amazon.com (well worth it) or click here to watch an episode for free. You can also watch the first season on demand via Netflix!

The Office: Whoever vs. Whomever

Ryan: What I really want — honestly, Michael — is for you to know it so you can communicate it to the people here, to your clients, to whomever.
Michael: Oh, okay…
Ryan: What?
Michael: It’s whoever, not whomever.
Ryan: No, it’s whomever…
Michael: No…whomever is never actually right.
Jim: Well, sometimes it’s right.
Creed: Michael is right. It’s a made-up word used to trick students.
Andy: No. Actually, whomever is the formal version of the word.
Oscar: Obviously, it’s a real word, but I don’t know when to use it correctly.
Michael (to the camera): Not a native speaker.
Kevin: I know what’s right, but I’m not gonna say because you’re all jerks who didn’t come see my band last night.
Ryan: Do you really know which one is correct?
Kevin: I don’t know.
Pam: It’s whom when it’s the object of the sentence and who when it’s the subject.
Phyllis: That sounds right.
Michael: Well, it sounds right, but is it?
Stanley: How did Ryan use it, as an object?
Ryan: As an object…
Kelly: Ryan used me as an object.
Stanley: Is he right about that?
Pam: How did he use it again?
Toby: It was…Ryan wanted Michael, the subject, to, uh explain the computer system, the subject–
Michael: Yes!
Toby: –to whomever, meaning us, the indirect object…which is the correct usage of the word.
Michael: No one asked you anything, ever, so whomever’s name is Toby, why don’t you take a letter opener and stick it into your skull?
LOVE THIS!
Thanks to Jess and everyone who told me I had to post this. I’ll be watching the actual episode later today.

I’m watching this right now:

Does the missing comma bother anyone?
As a grammarian, it bothers me a LOT. After all, this is money that is both dirty and sexy, not sexy money that also happens to be dirty. That necessitates the comma.
As a person, and as someone who technically works in “marketing,” it actually doesn’t bother me as much. Incorrect as it is, it adds a certain boldness to it. BOOM BOOM BOOM. Dirty Sexy Money. The comma would have taken away some of the impact….
….even though it is WRONG to leave it out in the first place!
I’m in a bit of a Jekyll/Hyde mood tonight.
This is a good show.

VMA Errors

The VMAs (not the VMA’s) just took place, and already, there are several news stories full of errors about the awards show.

From cnn.com:


To that end, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, Kanye West, Fall Out Boy and the Foo Fighters were each hosting four separate suite parties, where much of the show’s performances would be held.

The Grammar Vandal says that there were many. Many.


That might have been the purpose — to whet the audiences appetite for repeat viewings by promising glimpses of what they missed during the traditional broadcast.

The audience’s appetite. Please use that wonderful apostrophe.

From people.com:

“Was that incredible? Britney Spears, everyone,” Silverman said. “Wow. She is amazing. She is 25-years-old and she’s already accomplished everything she’s going to accomplish in her life. It’s mind blowing.”

At 25 years old, Britney is a 25-year-old. Sarah Silverman’s mind was blown by the mind-blowing accomplishments of Britney Spears.

Come on. I know that the awards show JUST happened, and it was live TV, but come ON! Accuracy isn’t that difficult!

I don’t like this tense.

When reading news articles and other sources of Web journalism, the tense is nearly always the past. The past makes sense because the stories describe events that have already taken place.

I hopped over to People.com after a night at Johnny D’s to grab the last news of the night, and I came across the following story. It describes Usher’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Here is a clip:

Dad-to-Be Usher: ‘I Want a Boy’

“Last time you were here, you were single,” DeGeneres also tells him. “You said you wanted a lady that you could take from the Waffle House to the White House. You found her.”

“I did. I found someone that I’m very, very happy to call my wife,” he tells her. “Tameka Raymond. She’s beautiful.”

Only DeGeneres also wants to know why she wasn’t invited to the wedding, which was originally scheduled for July 28 in the Hamptons but ended up taking place in a civil ceremony in Atlanta.

One thing that complicates the issue is that this show already taped, but it’s set to broadcast this Tuesday. The conversation already happened, obviously, but it hasn’t shown on TV. In a strange way, it’s almost as if it doesn’t exist yet.

I particularly find the third paragraph awkward-sounding. The tenses are all over the place.

I’m trying to imagine why this seems so familiar, and I think I recognize the usage of the present tense from reviews of children’s books and movies. “Mary Anne realizes that it’s true — she, in fact, misses Logan and wants him back.” “Kristy wants to start a softball team, but a little boy named Jackie Rodowsky is completely accident-prone!”

But, now that I think about it, why would that be restricted to children’s works? It shouldn’t be. All reviews are in the present tense.

I’m thinking more, and after reading through the story again, I think it’s more a stylistic issue than anything else. The writer, describing what each person says, seems to do something that is extraneous. We don’t need to be told every line in advance. Doing so makes it seem like we don’t understand it, which is paradoxical, because as celebrity gossip fans, we want to hear every line!

I’m having a hard time explaining this, and I wish I could do it better.

What do you think? Does using the present tense and describing each line each person says make it sound juvenile?

In other news, while having pizza at Mike’s in Davis Square tonight, I noticed a grammatical error on the cocktail menu.

“Do you have a pen?” I asked my sister.

She stared at me coldly. “DON’T.”

I am no longer permitted to vandalize grammar in front of her because it embarrasses her.

Crocs and Sideshow Bob

I have made my feelings regarding crocs quite clear in Kate’s Adventures. In fact, they relate to two amusing stories. Check out this entry first, then this one. You will have a very clear idea of how I feel about these abominable, hideous shoes.

Therefore, I was quite delighted to see a feature in Metro condemning them and recommending shoes that offer just as much comfort, but are much more attractive. I was not, however, delighted to see the grammar in the headline:

Die crocs die.

It should be Die, crocs, die. The statements are directed at the crocs, so they should be separated by commas.

This reminded me of Sideshow Bob’s tattoo on The Simpsons. His tattoo reads, “Die, Bart, Die,” and even though I haven’t seen that episode in years, I could have sworn that the commas were included in the tattoo.

I did a Google Image search, and this is the best image of him with the tattoo showing that I could find:

It doesn’t look like any commas are used, but there may be a period at the end. Technically, that period isn’t even necessary.

Interestingly, I remember in that episode that he tells the parole committee that the tattoo reads, “Die Bart, Die,” in German. He pronounces it with the commas as I placed them just now. Perhaps that means that there were never any commas, which allowed him to pronounce the sentence the way he did.

When you don’t understand the question….

I was excited to watch the LGBT issues debate on LOGO last night, and the historical debate didn’t disappoint.

(I only wish I had LOGO — I had to watch the debate on my computer, and my internet can be awful at times. I missed part of Senator Edwards and all of Senator Clinton. My internet then cut out for the rest of the night, which is why there were no posts from yesterday.)

The most shocking moment of the debate was when Governor Richardson took his seat. Melissa Etheridge, one of the panelists, asked him if he believed that homosexuality was biological or a choice.

“It’s a choice,” he said simply.

My mouth dropped open. Richardson has always been one of the worst speakers of all the candidates, but this was something beyond egregious. (You should have heard the gasp my roommate, Christie, made when I told her about it later.)

“I — um, I don’t think you understand the question,” Etheridge said. She was clearly in shock as well.

Richardson went on to say, “I’m not a scientist, but all people should be equal,” a half dozen times, and as time went on, it became clear that he simply misspoke. His camp also released a statement after the debate saying that he does not believe homosexuality is a choice.

Why am I bringing this up here?

I felt the same way when I had my interview on NPR. I totally missed the point of the first caller’s question, and because of that, I got so much hate mail from listeners.

I don’t think that Melissa Etheridge phrased the question incorrectly. There wasn’t anything wrong. I think that this just goes to show how complicated language can be, at times, especially when you have to answer questions cold. Writing is different; at least you get a chance to look over your work before submitting it.

Sometimes, words do not take effect immediately. You need a few moments to let them take shape the way you need to let one of Mario Batali’s risotti cool before you can taste the subtle pumpkin flavor. (Can you tell it’s Restaurant Week? I went to Smith and Wollensky last night, or as my family now calls it, F—ing and Awesome.)

Sometimes, you need a minute. Bill Richardson did not get that minute. Most people understood what the question meant — I sure know that I did, and I’m sure that most people did — but he didn’t.

That being said, I knew it was over for Richardson as soon as I saw the first Democratic debate. It was painful. He has done so much great work and he has, after Senator Clinton, the best political experience of all the Democratic (and Republican) candidates. It’s too bad that his public speaking skills are costing him his candidacy.

If a Democrat gets elected, he’ll be in the Cabinet, for sure.

Please, just let me watch my Queer as Folk in peace!!

I was about to relax and start the first season of Queer as Folk. I had been looking forward to this for a long time — when I was in Florence, one of my roommates brought the fourth season, and with so few DVDs to watch in the apartment, all nine of us became fans of the show. (For the record, I was one of very few who were able to watch it without going, “Ewwwwwwww!” the whole time.)

So, after getting home from a surprisingly draining day off, I decided to relax and watch how the series began, courtesy of Netflix. And though I don’t usually read the summaries of the episodes before watching them, this time, I figured, “Why not? I’ll read it through.”

I am very sorry that I did.

After a night out at the club Babylon with Michael, Emmett and Ted; Brian picks up a cute guy named Justin for a night of fun, but afterwards coldly rebuffs Justin’s attempts to see him again.

Oh, God. Please. Don’t do this to me. You’re turning my hair gray.

Why is is there a semicolon after Ted?!

Semicolons are used to separate phrases that could stand on their own as complete sentences. After a night out at the club Babylon with Michael, Emmett and Ted is not a complete sentence.

I can just imagine the pitiable individual who wrote this up, thinking, “Wow, I’m going to be using a semicolon; look at how smart I am!” (Irony. I know.)

And then the editor probably glanced it over, then thought to himself, “Hey, look at that writer. He used a semicolon. Well, if he used a semicolon, he must be right!”

NO.

This is something that I see more and more often. People are smugly using semicolons, only to learn (or are they?) that they aren’t using them correctly.

Please, people, only use semicolons to separate what could be two complete sentences.

******EDIT******

Oh my God, I must continue.

From the summary of Episode Three:

Justin seeking to regain the attention of Brian decides to make himself noticed at Babylon.

Michael attempting to continue his straight act, runs into a co-worker in front of the gay bars.

Commas are missing after Justin, Brian and Michael.

And I’m not a fan of “co-worker” — I’m not quite sure what the rule is on that, but I much prefer “coworker.”

Ugh. Did anyone even edit these summaries?

Back to the show.