Monday, September 17, 2012

Is It Too Much To Ask?

Grammar, people, grammar!

For God’s sake, can’t we at least use good grammar when writing copy that will be broadcast far and wide?
The 1949 musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” by Anita Loos with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Leo Robin has a funny song titled “A Girl Like I”. In 1949, the audiences were expected to laugh at the grammar faux pas and they always did. It was such an expected laugh-getter that when Loos wrote her autobiography in 1966, she called it “A Girl Like I”.
This past weekend, I heard a McCafferty Ford (Langhorne, PA) ad on KYW Radio, and it starts out with someone saying, “Maybe you, like I” blah-blah-blah. Doesn’t anyone check out grammar when these guys write their ads?
Newsanchors on TV continually use subject pronouns in error just because they sound classier.
The other evening, Philadelphia’s Jim Gardner on Channel 6 said something like, “”It went to she.” Subject pronouns cannot be used after prepositions just because it sounds refined. It’s true that most of us say “It’s me” when talking and someone in our lives no doubt has repeatedly told us, “Don’t say that…say, ‘It is I’”. And that may be why we think subject pronouns are always the correct choice. But subject pronouns are never correct after “to” or after “like”. That’s the rule.

And another thing…why can’t newspersons pronounce simple words like vulnerable and deteriorate and use all the letters in the word? There is an “l” in “vulnerable”…it is not “vun-er-able”. Same thing with “deteriorate”. It is not “de-ter-i-ate”.

When we are engaging in normal person-to-person conversation, we all break grammar rules and that’s not a bad thing. I am not complaining about that. But writers of ads for radio and TV and those who write copy for teleprompters used on news shows get to monitor what is broadcast before it is spoken. Cannot these people at least be grammatically correct? Cannot they at least inform the speakers of their words how to pronounce words correctly? Cannot newsanchors who write their own copy be monitored?

Is this too much to ask?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Christian Blindspot

I’m reading, and I must say it’s mainly on Facebook, posts that claim Christians have not acted as badly against Muslims as Muslims are acting against Christians.

And that is total hogwash.

This whole topic brings to mind the loathsome activities of born-again Christian Erik Prince and his Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq. The Blackwater thugs routinely killed innocent Muslim women and children for the fun of it.

But now that we’ve opened this can of worms, let’s see what Blackwater has been up to in the past two years.

You all remember Blackwater, right?

The Blackwater training camp in North Carolina was started by Erik Prince in 1998. Millionaire born-again Christian Erik Prince and “Focus on the Family” founder born-again Christian James Dobson believed that a war between Christians and non-believers was inevitably going to come about in the United States. Prince's family had bankrolled Dobson’s “Focus on the Family”. Prince felt a deep kinship with Dobson’s beliefs.

Prince bought 100,000 acres of land in Camden County, North Carolina, which coincidentally is a half-hour ride from the largest naval base in the world—Norfolk Naval Base. He named it “Blackwater, USA” and said it was a “two-billion dollar shooting range”. But in fact, he trained militias to fight the Armageddon battles he and Dobson envisioned were fated to be on the horizon. The name Blackwater is a reference to the black waters of “The Great Dismal Swamp” peat bog in Northeastern North Carolina near the Blackwater compound.

In 2004, the United States Defense Department started using Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq. It wasn’t long before the Blackwater soldiers getting $1000-per-day (120,000 of them) were nearly as numerous as the soldiers on regular USA army pay (160,000 of them). And it also was not long before the Blackwater soldiers began taking on the self-proclaimed role of chief-executioner of Muslims in Iraq. The unauthorized killings received widespread attention in 2007 when the Blackwater mercenaries came under indictment for their crimes. 

In 2010, Erik Prince liquidated all his holdings in the USA and moved to the United Arab Emirates to avoid being tried on obstruction of justice charges in the USA. The UAE does not have an extradition treaty with the USA.

Prince sold Blackwater to USTC Holdings LLC in 2010 which rechristened itself “Xe Services LLC”. At which point, the United States started using Xe mercenaries in Afghanistan. In December 2011, Blackwater-cum-Xe reinvented itself again with the name “Academi”. At which point, the United States began using Academi mercenaries in Afghanistan. Ted Wright is the new Blackwater-cum-Xe-cum-Academi owner and CEO.

Recently, Ted Wright said he is interested in bringing his Academi mercenaries back to Iraq now that the USA forces have decamped. Presumably, the Academi mercenaries will teach the Muslim Iraqis how to be a democracy full of bipartisan governing acumen and Christian love like the United States, seeing that the Blackwater army failed to do so.

In case that does not work out for Academi, Ted Wright’s forces can always be hired by the Republicans to teach Americans how to be a democracy full of Christian love…at gunpoint.