or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Monday, October 06, 2008


I have a lesson for you and that lesson is that if you can make people laugh, they will forgive you almost anything.

Here is the new Kate Beaton cartoon (click it to make it bigger if need be) and all I can say about it is that if it doesn't make you laugh, then you and I are made of very different material.

Here's her previous Fat Pony cartoon:

and although it is wonderful and a delight to all who gaze upon it (I hope), I would take issue with the use of the verb "demand". Your country demands you...to do what? You can't string it together with the sentence in the next panel because the verbs don't fit together in that way; you can say "Your country demands of you that you defeat the wizard", or you can change the verb and say "Your country needs you", or you can write it in any number of other ways, but you can't actually just say "Your country demands you".

But you know what? Doesn't matter. I will gladly overlook it because Beaton is so wonderful. She makes me laugh. Therefore, all is well.

Here are a few sentences from a book called The Urban Knitter by knitwear designer Lily Chin (p. 10):

The variegated bulky yarn is soft enough for little ones. More importantly, it's washable. This is a tantamount concern when designing for children.

"Tantamount" does not mean what Chin seems to think it means; it is an adjective meaning "equal", as in "The mission was tantamount to suicide." She appears to have been trying to say, "This is of paramount importance when designing for children."

This sort of mistake makes me very grouchy, because it should never have happened. The writer really ought to have known the difference between "tantamount" and "paramount", and there should have been at least two levels of editorial oversight to prevent this sort of error from making it into a professionally published book. (Chin thanks her husband and "sometimes-editor" Clifford Pearson in the acknowledgements: I'm thinking he should have been an editor a little more often.) Also, Chin does not make me laugh, so there's no excuse.


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