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Tag Archives: Facebook

Return Of The Grammar Fool

5 Jan

January 5, 2018

Longtime readers of this blog may recall that when this blog began, I was an English teacher. Since then I moved on, first to the Company I Am not allowed to name and now to a position as a freelance investigator. What do these jobs have in common? They were all silly enough to pay me.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The phrase “longtime readers of this blog” may now be an anachronism. The longest-time reader, Mr. Al Bickley, has been a proud subscriber since day one, when this blog first appeared on MySpace. However, he has been in a medically induced coma since 2012 and while technically still a subscriber, he is definitely no longer a reader. The second-longest tenured reader is my Aunt Edwina, whose constant requests to be unsubscribed from my blog have been cheerfully ignored for years, since I know them to be nothing more than playful jests. Though that does not explain why she doesn’t invite me for Thanksgiving anymore.)

But sometimes, the old English-teaching days still haunt me. If you have the stomach for it, go back and check out the many blogs where I complain about bad grammar. (Here’s one making fun of Michael Bloomberg.)  HA HA HA, boy was that annoying. What was I thinking?

I’ll tell you what I was thinking. Read this, which is an actual status I posted on Facebook today.

Let someone else deal with OBJ.

Get it? It works on two levels. It’s funny because A- it’s a bad snowstorm and B- the Giants stink. I’ll take my West Coast Wildcat offense somewhere else, thank you very much.

But here’s where the grammar stuff kicks in. It’s that word “today.” That pesky “today.” There were three ways to write that post.
1- The snow is so bad that I’m skipping my interview today for Giants head coach.
2- The snow is so bad that I’m skipping my interview for Giants head coach today.
3- The snow is so bad today that I’m skipping my interview for Giants head coach.

Speaking now as a former paid English expert, the word “today,” in this context, acts as some sort of adjective modifier thingy, emphasizing that the interview was today (option 1), rather than emphasizing that the position was to be the Giants head coach today (option 2), which would be inaccurate. (But as I read this back, I think option 3, emphasizing that the snow was so bad today, was the way to go. Oh well.) 

See? It makes sense. I realize that most of you don’t care (so why are you still reading? This is the internet, go find some wrestling rumors or tweet or something) but hey, I actually put thought into that stupid status update.

The moral of the story? It is a snowy day, I’m stuck indoors, and this is what happens.

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My Facebook Finale

27 Sep

September 27, 2017

About a month ago I left Facebook.

It was getting annoying. There were constant fights and disagreements. And I don’t mean over politics. An argument started in a thread where one person said that he didn’t like an old movie from the 1950’s. I merely said that I thought it was OK but I expected more. That’s it. I was then challenged by a couple of college film students who said that I did not understand the differences between television and film, and did not understand the intent of the film, nor did I understand the art of filmmaking in general.

I remind you, this was my comment: “It was OK but I expected more.”
And this is the film: Our Miss Brooks

Would any of you get into a fight over this?

I believed, and rightly so, that there was no point in Hell in getting into a debate over a film as mediocre and forgettable as that, so I bowed out of the argument with what I thought was a classy and witty riposte: “Screw you, assholes.”

OK, I didn’t really say that, but I did abruptly leave the thread in the dust. Why bother? And that was only the last straw. In the days leading up to it, there were huge fights (which I tried- sometimes successfully- to stay out of) over things like comic books and people’s user names. It was all nonsense, all pointless.

But what really got me to leave was that I was stooping to their level. I’d leave snarky comments. I’d get drawn into the arguments. I realized I was as bad as everyone else who trolls online and decided to just stop. I did not make a single comment, or even like anything, for a month. I went on Facebook only briefly to check in on the one or two legitimately scholarly things I look at, and to see what my friends were up to, but I was off and on quickly.

However, you can’t eat just one potato chip, you can’t stop at one lick of a Tootsie Pop, and you can’t avoid clickbait forever. So I decided to go back online and see what happened.

What happened is that after a few days I decided to leave again.

Why? Because who expected to get into an argument over whether the Earth is flat on my first night back?

I tried. I really, really tried, but there were so many people saying so many stupid things it hurt. I don’t mean ignorant or misinformed things, I mean genuinely stupid things.

  • “The Earth ain’t round because I put a Pokémon toy on this baseball and it falls off.” And there was video to prove it.
  • “If I had a really really strong telescope I could see France from my house in Michigan so the Earth has to be flat.”
  • “If the Earth was round we could just walk around it all the way but no has CAUSE IT CAN’T BE DONE.”

And I took it seriously! I know some science. I was a science major back in the day. I debated it scientifically, explained gravity, described the difference between the Earth and a baseball (it’s a lot bigger and heavier) and just generally used a mix of common sense and science to point by point debate a whole bunch of people who are in imminent danger of sailing over the edge of their brain cell.

It didn’t go well. People who believe the Earth is flat tend not to appreciate the scientific method.

I also made an innocuous comment, intended as a mild joke, about a series of comic book covers someone posted.

How was I supposed to know the artist was following the thread?

For the record, yes, the later covers were more or less the same. (More skin less clothes, but the same focus on the face.) The artist was nice enough to not call me out, and seeing he was in the thread I complimented his art (he really is good.) But I never went back to that thread.

So that was my great non-Facebook experiment. I still believe the Earth is round so it must have been a success.

 

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