Reverend Mojo's Daily Sermon


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Thursday, February 25, 2010     Bad English/Bad Religion
(11:14 am)

Weren't 'Bad English' and 'Bad Religion' both 80's band names? Anyway...

This morning I read an article in the local paper about a musician named Chuck Prophet. All in all it was a pretty well-written piece, with one glaring exception. This sentence made the page jump between page 1D and 6D: "He doesn't consider himself political, yet his latest album, 'Let Freedom Ring,' has a political bend." Okay, there are two major problems with this sentence. Firstly, the word used should have been bent,, not bend. According to The New Oxford American Dictionary (and any other you care to use), the word bend used as a noun pertains to a curved structure, a type of knot, or a heraldic device. Nowhere in its definition is an inclination or talent mentioned. Bent, however is defined as 'a natural talent or inclination.' Secondly, even properly worded, the sentence does not convey the intended meaning, nor does it come out with a coherent meaning. Let look: "He doesn't consider himself political, yet his latest album, 'Let Freedom Ring,' has a political talent." Makes no sense. Or perhaps: "He doesn't consider himself political, yet his latest album, 'Let Freedom Ring,' has a political inclination." As near as I can figure, albums have neither talent nor inclinations. I'm sure they can reflect the artist's talents or inclinations, but cannot possess the same on their own. Perhaps a better way to put it would have been: "He doesn't consider himself political, yet on his latest album, 'Let Freedom Ring,' exhibits a political bent." Even, still, I don't think that is what the writer intended to say. I think that he was trying to express that the new album has a political coloring or flavor, perhaps a tinge of politics. I suspect he was attempting to indicate a political character that was belied by the artist's testimony. But, I could be wrong.

More Bad English: My absolute, all-time, worst-case irritation about modern English misusage by journalists and other supposed language professionals is the use of Impact as a verb, intended to convey the meaning of 'largely affecting' something, i.e., "This healthcare bill will impact every citizen of this great country." Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! The word impact, used as a verb has the meaning, "come into forceful contact with another object." It does not mean "to have and impact on." To quote The New Oxford American Dictionary at length:

USAGE The phrasal verb impact on, as in when produce is lost, it always impacts on the bottom line, has been in the language since the 1960s. Many people disapprove of it despite its relative frequency, saying that make an impact on or other equivalent wordings should be used instead. This may be partly because, in general, new formations fo verbs from nouns (*my note, and sarcasm: verbing nouns) (as in the case of impact) are regarded as somehow inferior. As a verb, impact remains rather vague and rarely carries the noun's original sense of forceful collision. Careful writers are advised to use more exact verbs that will leave their readers in now doubbt about the intended meaning. In addition, since the use of impact is associated with business and commercial writing, it has a peripheral status of 'jargon,' which makes it doubly disliked.

I could go on (and on, and on, and. . .) but, I rest my case.

On to bad religion: The Right Wing Nut Jobs (hereinafter refered to as RWNJs) as dredging up passages from the Book of Leviticus to justify all manner of ugly sentiments. The dubious holder of the title Miss Beverly Hills,USA has quoted a chapter and verse justifying death for homosexuals. She, along with a number of the members of congress, talk show and television RWNJs, and Free-range teabaggers constantly quote passages from Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and other books of the old testament, and now and again something from the New to justify harsh social attitudes. These people are cafeteria Christians. They pick what they like and leave the other stuff where they found it. If you read the Bible closely it justifies, yea, requires all manner of punishment, ostracization, condemnation, and smiting of people for offenses against an irrational, hateful, and stringent God. Read the Old Testament some time. You'll be surprised at what 'sins' you're guilty of, even ones that deserve stoning or death.




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