The Pernicous Effects of A-Literacy

A Politico article (that, coincidentally, was about another aspect of Hivemind stupidity) provided another example of the pernicious results of a particular kind of a-literacy combined with the writer’s bubblegum soul being firmly, adamantly affixed to the lefthand side of the Dunning-Kruger Curve: the inability to perceive any differences in form between a verb’s simple past form and its past perfect form, though this isn’t quite as bad as the more typical inability to know when the past perfect is called for.

Oh, yeh, the presenting problem? The writer stupidly wrote “had sowed.” No, puppy. Only illiterates talk or write that way. The misuse is not even popular enough in English to qualify for “nonstandard” (that is, “stupid”) status.

This just in: yet ANOTHER pernicious effect of a-literacy: ignorance of commonly-known facts, viz. . .

Proud momma reporting (on FarceBook) on her son’s prom date with a girl named. . . Candida. *head-desk* No, I kid you not. No screenshot; no attribution whatsoever. Not even I would be that cruel. But the girl’s mother certainly was cruel when she named her. It would have been less cruel to simply have named her daughter, “Fungus.”


It’s the Little Things #8,492



OK, now that that is out of my system. . .

Some of the absolutely stupid things some writers do baffle me, but at least I have found a way to be amused by them.

Recent “Dan Brown wannabe” book where the writer apparently felt even less desire to get anything right about any of his premises than Brown typically does went Brown even further by finding… unique ways to misuse plain English ( for example, misused “infallible” when groping for “unflappable”), have an “expert pilot” grab the “steering column”. . . on a helicopter whose propellers were making enough noise to keep the writer from thinking, “Maybe I ought to do my homework on helicopters before making a fool of myself in print.”


Another? How about a fun-filled romp through a zombie apocalypse book filled with things like super-competent, manly-man hero filling up a late-model vehicle with gas and then “topping it off” after the pump clicks off. “Manly-men” know that can harm the vehicle’s evap system, cause the vehicle to run poorly, and even lead to hard starting or failure to start. In today’s world, it’s an easy fix (though sometimes complicated) to repair an evap system. . . IF one can narrow down the part or parts damaged by topping off, and costs can range from $10-$200, depending on several factors. In a zombie apocalypse scenario, having to repair the evap system on one’s go-to vehicle is sub-optimal.

But that’s OK, cos the book was chock full of this kind of stupid stuff, so reading it as a farce (OK, OK, skimming it, cos it wasn’t really worth reading *heh*) was. . . OK.

The problem with all these hilariously stupid books–not bad or “suckitudinous” books, just stupidly executed–is that the errors of logic, fact, grammar, punctuation, and usage they embody are just reinforced in whatever uncritical readers glom onto them. *sigh* There were once literate editorial staffs at tradpub houses to correct some of these problems, but even there, the quality of literacy in tradpub editorial staffs has waned.

Oh, well. At least I can laugh at and mock such things, and such amusement is worth something as the world generally goes to hell in a handbasket.

At Least THIS Illiterate Practice Is Still Deprecated

The occurrence of “try and [verb]” as against the correct “try to [verb]” in print in general is still minimal. Unfortunately, the #gagamaggot misuse of “and” still seems to be very common in (typically) very poorly edited self-pub text and in social media, etc., all over the increasingly “mass man”-dominated1 Internet.

Social democracy sometimes sucks.

Do note that I have no objection to the use of “try and” when it is genuinely appropriate and adds meaning. For example,

“Two Judges Try and Fail to Shut Down Union Strike” in a headline is OK, though in a sentence in the body of a text it would be better-written as, “Two judges try–and fail–to shut down union strike,” or, slightly less clear, “Two judges try, and fail, to shut down union strike.”


“It’s better to try, and regret, than not to try, and regret.”

In neither of the cases above would “try to” convey the meaning intended, but cases like this are rare compared to misuses of “try and” where “try to” is appropriate. Sadly, the colloquial misuse of “try and” contributes to a poorer language rather than enhancing English.

1See Ortega.

Down with Dysgraphia!


I have become convinced that, despite enabling many fine writers to become successful authors, self-publishing/”Indie publishing” has had an overall negative effect on the quality of text available. The sheer number of aspiring writers afflicting readers with their dysgraphia is appalling. *sigh* Oh, well, at least writing reviews on Amazon encouraging such dysgraphics to just PLEASE JUST STOP IT offer some slight ability to ameliorate the problem. Slight.

For MUCH less than the tip of the iceberg upon which contemporary lazy, subliterate, self-made dysgraphics sink their “great works,” start with:

Commonly misused words and phrases

Of course, a simple search for such things will turn up many, many more such lists, but that’s a start. And,of course, such lists don’t even scratch the surface of grammar that would gag a maggot, stupid misuses of tenses (quite apart from more ordinary grammar errors; for example, an understanding of past perfect and past conditional tenses seem to be dead, dead, dead *sigh*), and on and on and. . .

Matters of Principle or just Irrational Overconfidence?

I have ceased being shocked at the *cough* “deep thinkers” *cough* who share their “thoughts” in various print and eprint media whose “deep thoughts” are too deep to allow mundane things like spell checkers, and whose “literacy” extends only to what they have heard (and dependably misunderstood) others say.

It’s as though being stuck on a wad of gum at the far lefthand side of the Dunning-Kruger Curve is a matter of idiotic pride for them. Yeh, it’s a principle. #gagamaggot

Continue reading “Matters of Principle or just Irrational Overconfidence?”

Writers Who. . . Shouldn’t

Writers who have not bothered to become literate and who are too cheap, stupid, or stuck on the lefthand side of the Dunning-Kruger Curve to obtain the services of a literate editorial staff just should not write. No, seriously. Wading through knee-high sewage to get to the occasional flower worth plucking gets old.

Oh, the signs are Legion, but I’m sure you know them well. Here are but a few:

1. execrable grammar and punctuation

  •  inability to use tenses properly
  •  apostrophe abuses/neglect
  •  comma splices
  •  misuse of objective case/subjective case pronouns
  •  etc.

2. basic vocabulary failures:

  •  using words of which they wot not the meaning (and I don’t just mean inexplicable misuses of prepositions *sigh*)
  •  utter incomprehension of when to use/not use compound words1
  •  confusion of homophonic words with disparate meanings
  •  etc.

I could go on, but won’t. *sigh* Someone(s) needs t tell these people to JUST STOP. They are polluting the English language with their illiterate, childish crayon scrawls. That was once the gatekeeping function of traditional publishing houses, and while I’m sure it resulted in some worthy manuscripts being dumped in the reject pile, at least it did not so frequently result in utter crap being published as is all too frequently the case with the self-pub democritization of publishing nowadays.

Folks who write books without bothering to become literate, with no serious intention of even submitting their work to literate proofreaders before publication, are insulting their readers. And this issue is quite apart from the issue of folks writing “authoritatively” on subjects they quite obviously know NOTHING about. That is another rant entirely.

DO NOTE: I have read some VERY well-written and edited self-pub books, however that minority represents less than 10% of the self-pub books I have tried to read. *sigh*

Continue reading “Writers Who. . . Shouldn’t”

Wannabe (Usually 20-Something) Writers Are almost Cute, Sometimes

It’s almost cute how some wannabe writers try to emulate literacy. It usually shows up in more than a few misused words that are homophones (or close homophones) with whatever word they are groping for or other word misuses indicating a lack of familiarity with well-written text. . . or a dictionary, for that matter. Oh, here’re a couple: using “appraise” for “apprise” or “reign” for “rein” (usually in “free rein” or some such). Kiddy writers who have heard (or THINK they have) a word but have apparently never read the correct word used in a proper context.

One can also just head on over to any list of misused words on the Internet and count on seeing them misused in some self-pub books written (and “edited”) by subliterate kids who’ve been awarded participation trophies all their lives (most likely including their attendance certificates called “diplomas”).

Oh, and comma splices and apostrophe abuses seem to be particular favs of 20-something subliterate kiddy “writers.”

Only the Stupid, Lazy, Illiterate or (and?) Disingenuous Deride So-Called “Grammar Nazis”

Yeh, I said it, and I mean it.

Grammar is the internal logic of a language. Deriding those who espouse good grammar and point out bad grammar is equivalent to deriding logic, indeed reasoning.

Most who vomit up stupid comments about “grammar Nazis” also claim English is inconsistent and illogical in its grammar and, indeed, in its spelling of words, massive numbers of words that either look (when written) or sound alike but mean different things, etc. *meh* That’s either because they are butt-lazy illiterates or want to encourage butt-lazy illiteracy for their own nefarious purposes.

Understanding the internal logic of English (its grammar) requires something more than a “literacy” comprised of the ability to laboriously puzzle out what words those funny lil squiggles are and assign (often incorrect) simplistic meanings to them; it requires the reading of a lot (no, much more than you think “a lot” means!) of well-written text, an interest in what the words in that text actually mean or meant when the writer committed them to paper, and a cultivated ability to actually think.

Those three conditions are not met by at least 99.999. . .n% of the Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind who are the primary corrupters of English nowadays. Let one very small example from a CNN chiron this morning stand as a typical example. Referring to Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe:

“. . .his own party said they will move to impeach him if he didn’t [sic] resign by the deadline.”

When someone cannot even keep past-present-future clear, one is safe to assume that that “someone” is a self-made moron. And such is the nature of the influence on the English language that the Hivemind exerts: teaching a-rational thought processes, by inundation with example after example.

Brief Note re: Neo-Victorian Bowdlerizers

Sidebar: when in soi-disant “adult” company, I do sometimes become a wee tad irritated by neo-Victorian Bowdlerizers who define anything that offends their po’ widdle feewings as “cussing.” *meh* It’s my curse just barely more than literate. . . unlike the neo-Victorian Bowdlerizers who are almost universally very nearly illiterate.

N.B. Sometimes a vulgar term is the best term to describe something/someone. Just sayin’.

Well, At Least the Writer Is Trying

Reading a book today that is. . . amusing. It’s supposed to be an action-packed “thriller” set “25 Years from now” (whenever THAT is) that’s chock full of “advanced tech” and “cutting edge science.”

That’s really funny. The “advanced tech” still relies on USB cables, and the “cutting edge science” is a “Dan Brown stupidity level” misunderstanding of everything from string theory to tachyons to time travel.

If it weren’t for lotsa laughs, I’d say the writer isn’t just trying but very trying. *heh*

Oh, on top of that, the writer pads the word count by having much of the dialog in both French and English (the English for the illiterates who either don’t own any French vocabulary or can’t work the meanings out via linguistic roots, I suppose).

More laughs.