4thofeleven: (Default)
If the lecturer says they only have time for one more question, and it's going to have to be brief, perhaps you could consider making your question slightly more specific than "How do you think Rome influenced western culture?"
4thofeleven: (Default)
Why is Philippines spelled with a double p, but Filipino isn't?

Someday I'm going to learn to stop picking essay topics on subjects I can't consistently spell correctly...
4thofeleven: (Default)
Hey, everyone? I understand, everyone hates Twilight. I understand, nobody wants to see Twilight crap everywhere. However, in expressing your distain from the series, could you please try and avoid the following arguments:

- Complaints that Twilight vampires aren’t ‘real’ vampires, because real vampires aren’t sexy. Seriously? If you can find one of those ‘real’ vampires that isn’t portrayed as unearthly alluring, I’d be very interested to see it. Come on, people – ‘erotic vampire’ has a long and noble tradition. The element of seduction is practically the defining element of a vampire story. I’ll grant you, Edward and company are a little too domestic for my tastes – but then, they are portrayed as very much in the minority of the vampire population of their setting.

- Complaints that Twilight’s sexist. Hey, I’m not arguing, but a lot of people seem to be singling out Twilight in a way that isn’t really justified. Does it have some extremely dubious tropes? Sure. Is it any worse than the majority of pop culture? No, I don’t think so. Will it somehow corrupt an entire generation of young women with its messages on gender relations? You know, if the last few thousand years of western culture haven’t done that, I don’t think Twilight’s going to be the straw to break the camel’s back.

- Pointing out Stephanie Meyer’s Mormon. I see a lot of people abruptly mentioning this when complaining about the books, generally with no attempts to elaborate as to a, why this is relevant or b, why this is bad.

Remember, Twilight has a great many flaws; there’s no need to keep harping on these three points over and over.
4thofeleven: (Default)
Not that I'm a fan of more Americanisation of our culture, but I always kind of wish Halloween had taken off a bit more here. Not for its own sake, just because hopefully an easily merchandisable holiday around this time of year would at least delay the Christmas decorations and music going up until, say, mid-November...

Why is Christmas unique among major holidays for having god-awful music, anyway? "Away in a Manger" alone is enought to make me avoid public places for the last quarter of the year.
4thofeleven: (Default)
Note to the people campaigning for the student council elections: If someone walks past with headphones on, very carefully avoiding making any eye contact with you, and has begun humming out loud to drown you out... it's probably a waste of time to deliver your entire sales pitch to them.

I mean, damn - when the Mormon missionaries lurking around the campus gates get the message faster, that's really something.
4thofeleven: (Default)
Claiming that a split infinitive is improper English.

Alright, look. We all want to come across as intelligent. And, as we all know, one of the best ways to appear to be an arrogant prick knowledgeable is to correct other people’s grammar. The problem is when people take it upon themselves to ‘correct’ perfectly acceptable sentences, based only on a poorly remembered awareness of non-existent rules.

English has always used split infinitives. They’re a common aspect of the language. No, I don’t care if some grammar textbook from the nineteenth century insists the construction is unacceptable; while it might have been less common in the past, the construction has always been part of the language. Chaucer used them, Shakespeare used them. They’re fine.

What, you don’t like the descriptivism anarchy of accepting any grammar as long as it’s in common use? Well this isn’t a debatable or borderline case; split infinitives have been around as long as English; they’ve been in common use in both speech and print for more than two centuries. It’s far too late to remove them now, even if there was a valid reason to do so - and no, "It doesn't work that way in Latin" isn't a valid reason for imposing rules on English.

And if you’re still determined to correct people’s grammar, learn something about the language as it’s actually used before you start, yes?
4thofeleven: (Fey'lya)
Alright, all you people who think yourselves ever so clever by butting into political discussions to announce that “The United States isn’t democracy, it’s a republic!”? Yeah, shut the hell up, please.

No, the US is not a direct democracy – but that’s hardly the only ‘real’ form of democracy. Representative democracies can be just as legitimately referred to as democracies, alright? Plus, you guys have lots of referendums and initiatives that are put to the popular vote, so you’ve got at least some elements of a direct democracy anyway.

Yes, the US is a republic – that’s not something special you get to brag about. A republic technically is nothing more than a state that is not governed by a monarch. Britain or Australia are (representative) democracies, but not republics, while China or Belarus are republics while not being democracies. The United States is both; they’re not mutually exclusive terms.

So stop saying it, alright? All it does is make you look ignorant.

Thank you.

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David Newgreen

August 2017

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