Skip to main content

View Diary: NY Times mea culpa (328 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  minor quibble (4.00)

    "The NYT was (literally) an arm of a criminal conspiracy..."

    I see this all the time. It was not "literally an arm." It was, in fact, a figurative arm. : )

    -- Grammar police AKA sanctimonious little twit

    Maryscott O'Connor -- Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

    by Maryscott OConnor on Tue May 25, 2004 at 11:19:14 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Pull them over (none)
        and book them if you have to.  I love the Language Police. We are in a battle of words here in Blogotopia (thanks skippy)  and somebody needs to keep people accountable.

      Words mean something.  Abuse them and you get at minimum a warning.

      (And at worst a little trip to Hidden Comments Land.  You don't want to go there, they don't play nice.)

    •  Cuff 'em, Ponch (none)
      I respect your authora-tay!

      The people have the power / The power to dream / To rule / To wrestle the world from fools -Patti Smith

      by Septic Tank on Wed May 26, 2004 at 12:22:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Um, it was a joke (none)
      Literal, as in something you read, something unembellished, factual, ie, news: literally, taken at its word, something the NYT used to be.

      I'm no grammar queen, but the misuse of literally is so common even rabble like myself can joke about it.

      •  Grammar police (none)
        I get it now. But it was... awk.  : )

        Maryscott O'Connor -- Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

        by Maryscott OConnor on Wed May 26, 2004 at 07:10:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Deputy Bruce (none)
        Except that is not what 'means' or used to mean. 'Literal' is a term of art in Rhetoric and its misuse here, there and everywhere will lead you to not comprehend it when it is being used correctly.

        Literal 1 "In accordance with, conforming to, or upholding the explicit or primary meaning of a word or the words of a text" 4 "Avoiding exaggeration, metaphor, or embelishment, plain: a literal statement"

        "arm" here is a metaphor and is not being used in its "explict or primary meaning".  You are buying into Humpty Dumpty's edict "words mean what I want them to mean".  The use of 'literally' in the way it has come to be used effectively reduces its content to 'I mean', 'really','it's like' or 'oh my God', or at best a kind of verbal underlining.

        When one reads in some work of Roman history that a general 'decimated' the men of a captured city or a legion, most would be left with an image of a city of widows and orphans, or a lonely battle standard amidst a sea of corpses.  Me I would be thinking "Choosing one out of ten men randomly by lot and killing them seems kind of harsh here".  Which of course is the original meaning of 'decimate'.  The proper word for killing everyone would be 'annihilate'

        Words change over time, but draining all meaning from a term that still has a specific use is not evolution - it is devolution.

        •  Well if Mary gave you a pass (none)
          While I was composing this over-pedantic rant, I guess I will too.  But when smart people don't get a word-play based joke you might want to rethink it.  Because it might say more about the teller than the person who didn't 'get it'.
          •  Yes, jokes should be focus-group tested (none)
            ... rather than made spontaneously.

            After all, if someone didn't get one -- or got it but didn't particularly want it -- something really really horrible might happen. Someone on the internet might not give a post on a busy comments board "a pass".


            This machine fights fascism - motto on Woody Guthrie's guitar

            by Peanut on Wed May 26, 2004 at 09:42:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Which might have more resonance (none)
              If the joke teller had just taken the hit and not whined about it.  There is nothing more feeble than "Hey, it was just a joke".

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (125)
  • Community (58)
  • 2016 (50)
  • Environment (38)
  • Elections (36)
  • Media (34)
  • Republicans (32)
  • Hillary Clinton (30)
  • Law (29)
  • Jeb Bush (28)
  • Culture (27)
  • Barack Obama (26)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (25)
  • Iraq (25)
  • Civil Rights (24)
  • Climate Change (23)
  • Economy (19)
  • Labor (19)
  • LGBT (16)
  • Congress (15)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site