18 March 2013

Moron Bad Ewes of Language

On my handloading list, one member suggested we outlaw abbreviations and acronyms.  I thought it was a good idea until I started listing all the rules.  Here's what I came up with (you'll see why I nixed the idea)-

If I were to start making grammatical and spelling rules, the list would get a bit long.  

A preposition is a word you shouldn't end a sentence with. Or clauses. Or to which one might infer an infinitive that has been split. And starting sentences with a conjunction is bad. Misplaced modifiers are like the pen, lost by a man half full of green ink. Stay away from ad hominem arguments, you moron.

I would agree however, that it is best to be more or less specific, and that verbs has to agree with their subjects. And I'd recommend avoiding cliches like the plague. For clearer writing, always absolutely avoid annoying alliteration. The overuse of parentheses (however important or relevant) is often (or usually) overdone (by some, not all). Hyperbole should never be used; not in a million years...if I told you this once, I told you a zillion times. And, be very, careful, with overuse of, the comma.

Foreign words can be confusing, so make an a priori decision to not use them as they are not apropos. And I don't dig slang, so don't be gettin jiggy wit it. All generalizations are bad, so never make one. One-word sentences? Eliminate. And analogies are like what a bear does in the woods, so make like a tree and leaf them out. Comparisons are as bad as cliches. Two often to many people use the wrong form of to in a sentence or too.

The passive voice is not to be used in good writing. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice. Such obfuscation of scrivenry is perplexing. Use words correctly, irregardless of what you've seen others do. And don't make words up, this groks the noobels out of some readers. Don't misuse 'like'. Someone asked me to explain that, and I was like, "Write 'says', not 'like', when you are quoting someone."

Excessive feakin' interjections are crap!  And don't overuse the exclamation point!!!! I mean it! (Anybody want a peanut?) Stay away from rhymes and puns. I once used ten puns in a sentence to try to cause laughter. Unfortunately, no pun in ten, did. Puns are for children, not us groan ups. Plus, I don't feel that using an emotional descriptor to express a thought is a proper thing to do.

Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms. And don't verb words; verbing weirds language. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out, or repeat unnecessarily repeat any words. And most of all, remember that dangling sentences

I should probably add that only a handful of these are original with me.  Most of the others were picked up over the years in my reading of high-end academic journals, like the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip and such.

14 March 2013

The Quotable Wilson

I love Doug Wilson's writing.  He is always engaging, always on point, and even when I disagree, he is always convincing.  Currently he's engaged with some other good folks in a debate about some things that would take too long to explain here, but he is so quotable that I've published a few of his lines from a recent blog post here out of interest.

Here they are-

"How we arrive at our decisions is as important (over the long run) as what decisions we make. For example, any powers you give to the office of the Attorney-General when a Good Guy occupies that office will be a power that is still there when a Bad Guy shows up.

There is an important point in recognizing the difference between good guys and bad guys, and righteous decisions and unrighteous ones. Sure enough. But there is another level, and that is the level of understanding that you are creating a political power in a world where good guys and bad guys rotate through office."

"The Founders wanted to create a form of governance that famously utilized "checks and balances." They were afraid that if those checks and balances eroded, the way was opened to ungodly tyranny, and the nature of man would ensure that ungodly tyrants would find that open way instanter and go straight through it. And here we are, watching the great Tumor of the Potomac metasticize before our eyes."

"Prior to the (Civil) War, the Bill of Rights restricted the power of the federal government ("Congress shall make no law . . ."), and the states were the partial guarantors of that set of restrictions. As a result of the War, the Reconstruction amendments, and how those amendments came to be interpreted in subsequent court cases, the Bill of Rights was then applied to the states, with the federal government becoming the final arbiter of what was 'constitutional' or not. An important constitutional check on centralized tyranny had been removed.

... Indeed, I believe Patrick "Nostradamus" Henry laid the whole thing out in front of us beforehand, and in chilling detail. I believe he even identified the unlocked door of the judiciary as the place the tyrants would get in."

"So it has now been deemed constitutional, for example, for going on half a century, that American babies can be chopped up into little pieces. The content of Roe was appalling, of course, but we need to ask how and when it came about that the federal government got the structural power to tell almost all the states that were protecting unborn life that they had to cease and desist with that protection. It didn't come from a clear blue sky, so where did it come from?"

05 March 2013

An Interesting Observation

For many years, I've noticed that it seems like pastors have an inordinate number of special needs children; kids with Down's Syndrome in particular.  Of course when we observe something like that, we try to make sense of it in whatever our own worldview might be.

My worldview told me back then that the reason pastors had more kids with developmental disorders was because God knew those kids would need someone special to look after them.  Of course, there are a few theological problems with this, but none so serious that they overcome a worldview.

Then, not so long ago, a bit of reality hit me.  It has no less theological significance than my older view, and maybe more. It is tragically so much more simple than I originally thought:  The reasons pastors seem to have more kids with special needs is, they are members of a group who won't choose to kill those kids in utero when they find out they are sick.

Yes, I know that sounds crass, but I really think it is a better explanation of the observed phenomenon.  And it begs a couple questions.  First, why only pastors?  Why don't believers in general have more kids with special needs than the secular, non-religious culture, especially considering that having those kids means what it means?  I read recently that 95% of all Down's Syndrome pregnancies end in abortion now.  This can only mean one of two things...either God isn't giving believers kids with special needs, or believers (since there is far more than 5% of the population who are believers) are aborting these kids at a rate similar to secular society. 

Now certainly my observations do not a law make.  Just because I've seen this doesn't make it reality; I am well aware that conjectural and anecdotal evidence are quite a distance from real empirical science.  But the numbers don't lie. Something is up, something more than the simple tragedy of abortion.  No wonder Christians can't stop it, if they are some of the ones practicing it.