or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fourth and Down

Reader Frank had this to say about my recent blatherings about poetic meter:

I'm always slightly ashamed to admit this, but I've NEVER really gotten scansion. I just seem to have this block, despite having had it taught and explained several times. I'm a baaaaaaaad English major.

Scansion is awful, isn't it? It's like trying to figure out words from a string of Morse-code symbols, or to determine where the word breaks are in a spoken language you don't know very well. The nice thing about free verse is that it doesn't have to scan.

I'm done with poetic meter, anyway. Four-count feet, or tetrasyllables, are really boring, and they have awful names like "tertius paeon" and "second epitrite". The interested reader can learn more here and here. Ah, Wikipedia.


Here's a sentence from The (London) Times Online's review of Guy Ritchie's rather stupid-sounding new film:

The film hurtles propulsively on and if there is any vicarious pleasure to be had it's in the high-octane battery of car charses, punch-ups and bungled heists.

So what's a "charse"? It is a chase...with your arse? A sort of portmanteau word? No, it's just a garden-variety typo, par for the course in the world of get-it-out-there-and-damn-the-consequences online journalism. (It wasn't even spellchecked.) Would it have made it into the print version of the paper? Of course not. The paper would have made sure that the piece had undergone some sort of editorial scrutiny, or at least it would have done so back in the good old days, not so long ago, when it was understood that errors of style are as bad as errors of fact.


Blogger D.J. said...

Jeez, I hung up as soon as I hit "vicarious pleasure," figuring you'd take them to task for suggesting that there's another kind of pleasure on tap at the movies. (Excluding drive-ins and places like the Arclight where you can get a beer, of course.)

Thursday, September 04, 2008 9:32:00 AM  

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