The Importance Of Punctuation

We encounter two kins of grammar cops on the web, the grammar brownshirts who will jump on any minor error and try to claim it invalidates your entire post or comment and proclaim to the world (though sane person actually cares) that single aberrent apostrophe’s(!) in otherwise perfectly punctuated pieces reveal the writer as an ineducable, knuckle dragging oaf.

To those who pick up my trivial errors I usually reply, “Fuck the fucking fuck off,” and then warn them that before they start pontificating about my profanity showing I am inarticulate to bear in mind the line is not only gramatically and syntactically correct, it is a perfect trochaic triameter and therefore qualifies as poetry. That usually shuts ’em right up.

The other kind are the progressives who say that punctuation does not matter and will call writers out for too precise grammar and punctuation which, they claim, makes the writer appear pompous and condescending. These are a weird lot and most of them seem to be left wing schoolteachers.

A few days ago our friends from the neo – fascist left were holding a two minutes hate session to celebrate the removal of Michael Gove MP from his job as Education Secretary. The teaching profession, displaying the kind of groupthink that can only be brought on by a diet of propaganda, propaganda, propaganda, hated Gove with the kind of passion that should be reserved for reunions with long – absent lovers.

Why? Who knows, but maybe it was because Gove looked at the salaries teacher pick up and thought, “Time these CHIMPS* got some work done.”

Or maybe it was just that Gove was trying to reintroduce the idea of learning basic arithmetic and English grammar and comprehension into the curriculum which would mean spending less class time on things like multiculturalism, history of feminism, race awareness and gay rights studies. After all none of those are any use if you can’t read, write or solve simple calculations.

But with an estimated 20% of secondary school leavers officially illiterate and innumerate maybe Gove had a point. As is illustrated by this Tweet from a professional journalist at Associated Press

BREAKING: Dutch military plane carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash lands in Eindhoven.

See if you can punctuate or rearrange the sentence so it reads the way it is meant to.

*CHIMPS: Completely Hopeless In Most Practical Situations

Those Who Can’t Do, Teach. Those Who Can’t Teach Join The Union

Government proposals for rigorous grammar tests on eleven year olds are an attack on teachers a taeching union has said.

Sticking closely to the agreed policy of public sector unions which states that it is a human rights violation to ask any public sector employee to get some effing work done, The NASUWT (National Association Of Shitheads, Under – achievers, Wankers and Tosspots obviously thinks that asking todays teachers to do the job they are paid for, i.e. teach children basic stuff, is well out of order.

A teaching union has condemned plans that will see all 11 year-olds tested on the proper use of apostrophes and the difference between nouns, verbs and adjectives, saying the proposals amount to an attack on teachers.

Chris Keates, the General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said the plans were part of an “entirely unjustifiable campaign to denigrate the commitment and professionalism of teachers”.

“Imposing a wholly unnecessary additional high-stress test on schools has nothing to do with ensuring that teachers can support all pupils to reach their full potential as writers,”

Writers? So providing we do not teach them to read, spell or put full stops and commas in the right places these untutored illiterates will all turn into little Shakespeares?

Obviously the NASUWT approach to teaching children their native language is to take a million pupils, sit them in front of a million computers and wait for them to produce the Complete Works.

Maybe what is needed to sort education out is for somebody to attack NASUWT members … with baseball bats.

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Grammar Fascist

I don’t have a post today but I guess the nation is in mourning and not reading blogs. I did think of writing a blog on Tony Blair’s completely bonkers performance on the Andrew Marr programme yesterday but it is cruel to mock the afflicted.

Blair said “It is inevitable that Britain will join the Euro one day, when the time is right.”

Unfortunately Marr did not reply “and when will that be Mr. Blair, when they eventually find those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

An article by Tom Chivers in The Daily Telegraph amused me. Titled Grammar Fascist it deals with that managment-speak so many of us hate. All the usual suspect are pilloried, “leveraging”, “thinking outside the box,” (which is not actually bad grammar but is so overused it is not even a cliche any more, “going forward”, “mainstreaming” and talk of “one trick ponies” and things that do what it says on the box.

To see some prime examples of this style of talking bollocks you can look at our old post Management Speak We Love To Hate containg the most idiotic examples of the shite people talk when trying to appear “cutting edge.”

Myself Will Not Be Blogging About The Apprentice This Year.

It isn’t because the current series of The Apprentice has failed to produce any prize dickheads of the calibre of ‘Exactly what it says on the box’ Jim, the imbecilic One-Trick-Pony Baggs the Brand or the nice Jewish boy who didn’t know the diffrence between halal and kosher that I have not been inspired to blog about it.

This year’s crop of wannabes may be lacking distinct personalities that could help find humour in their incompetence but that is not the reason they have been getting on myself’s tits. See if yourself can guess what it is that irritates myself about themselves.

It is the same reason that reduced myself to such spluttering incoherent rage that having scribbled a rough draft of this post on Thursday morning myself could not find the will to post it until today.

Why have these morons who sit opposite Alan Sugar each week decided that it is perfectly acceptable grammatically to replace fisrt, second and third person pronouns, me, you, they or them, with the ugly and incorrect reflexive form myself / ourselves, yourself, himself/theirselves. What exactly is it supposed to be? A pronominal adjectice, a quasi-noun meaning my actual, real, true self actually? Do theirselves not realise it makes themselves sound like morons?

This abuse of the English language isn’t a new thing of course. In the past the form was used by smarmy salesmen, graduates of the Uriah Heap school of marketing, to make pottenial customers feel important, as a more intensive form of a pronoun maybe. “He may be a vlued costomer but yourself is much more important to us.” Geddit? No? Well neither do I but it’s feasible.

“If yourselves would favour us with an order we will endeavour to ensure your needs are met promptly and efficientl.” or “Securing your business would mean a great deal to ourselves,”

Even then it was only used sparingly as a totally redundant extra layer of schmooze.

When used sparingly it is irritating, when semi educated little oiks sit waving their degrees in “business management with Klingon studies” from the University of Usedtobeapoly and fondly imagining that torturing English grammar makes them sound intelligent, I want to reach into the television and strangle themselves.