or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, March 02, 2006

More Mistakes

Do we get MTV here in Canada? I think so, on some digital-TV networks, but if we do, it's not universal (and besides, we have our own version, MuchMusic). I've never seen MTV, but I still read a piece in Slate today by Troy Patterson about "The Real World" because, well, I read a lot of things. Here's the end of the article:

They leave us with only the usual, apocalypse-of-the-week kind of questions: Is there no decency? Will the younger generation demolish the grammatical distinction between "less" and "fewer"? Why haven't we taught our children how to hold their liquor?

Too late, Mr. Patterson. The distinction between "less" and "fewer" is already on the ropes. Here's a sentence from a brand-new article (so new it's dated March 13th, 2006) about perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena on Forbes.com:

And while First was a complex formula, with more than 160 ingredients, his latest creation--a men’s fragrance, Terre d’Hermès--has less than 30.

If a magazine like Forbes, which you'd think could afford copy-editors and such, can't even get the distinction between "less" and "fewer" correct, why would anyone think a bunch of booze-addled twenty-year-olds can?

The real problem is that "more" is the antonym of both words, and I'm sure that confuses some people. But still. Less: quantities of things such as perfume. Fewer: individual numbers of things such as perfume ingredients. As I seem to have to keep saying, it's not that hard.


I'm not usually one to jump on a bandwagon, and if blogs are banned by filtering software for coarse language then I'm already being screened out for having used the word "fuck" once or twice. But Boingboing--read it every day, folks--is encouraging a campaign to thwart a company called Secure Computing, whose SmartFilter which is so primitive that its software blocks all sites with nudity, even statue nudity; if everyone puts Michaelangelo's statue of David on his or her website, the logic goes, SmartFilter will have nothing left to show users and Secure Computing will have to change their brain-dead policy. I have my doubts--there are a lot of websites out there--but here goes, anyway.

I've seen the statue--I mean, in real life--and it really is a marvel. It's at the end of a long hallway (I or at least it used to be--maybe they've moved it or something) and you turn the corner and there it is, large as life--larger, in fact, because it's considerably taller that I had thought. Here's the hallway with a rear view of the statue, in case the penis isn't hostile enough for SmartFilter.


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