Thursday, October 25, 2007

Period Pain

Grammartarian Lynne Truss admits she has to be cruel to be kind:

In my worst moments, I think the biggest effect of Eats, Shoots & Leaves was to kill the happiness of people who had previously skipped through life, unaware of all the atrocities lurking in the world around them.

Sometimes I even witnessed this life-ruining at first-hand – when, while promoting the book, I would go out with film crews to find misplaced apostrophes on high streets.

At the start of each filming day, the assigned jobbing cameraman would have only a vague idea of the reason he was there ("Like a comma, right?"), but by the end, he would be saying, "Oh, there's a bad one! There's a really bad one!"

This was pleasing, obviously; but also worrying.

Would this nice man go home later to his wife and children – to all outward appearance, the same person, but oh-so changed in this one regard? It is not really a kindness, therefore, to show a child the difference between "The girls like spaghetti" and "The girl's like spaghetti". There is nothing humanitarian about it.

My excuse is that I am willing to sacrifice the future mental wellbeing of a few kiddies for the sake of a greater good: for the sake of continuing to celebrate the beauty of the printed word.
-- Nora

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