eternally stressed semanticist (cqs ) wrote,
eternally stressed semanticist

A sentence too poorly constructed to succeed

Lake Superior State University has, as is its wont, released its annual "please pay attention to us" annual Banished Words List. As Arnold Zwicky puts it, "it's a steaming pile of intemperate peeving". Picking apart the gripes is like shooting fish in a barrel—they hate "czar" because it's "long used by the media" and "tweet" because it's new, and so forth. (Heck, the complaint about the latter that "I don't know a single non-celebrity who actually uses ['tweet']" just makes the people behind this look old and grumpy.) They hate "app" because it's "yt another abrv"; presumably they say "mobile vulgus" and "taximeter cabriolet" instead of "mob" and "taxicab", but more to the point, Merriam-Webster dates the word to 1987, so they're coming to this fight a little late....

Right, sorry, enough barrelfish shooting. The point I'd actually wanted to make was about their quote from Claire Shefchik in favor of banning "too big to fail": "Just for the record, nothing's too big to fail unless the government lets it." That is to say, nothing's too big to fail, so no matter how big something is, it can still fail, unless the government lets it fail, in which case it's...wait, if the government lets it fail, then it's too big to fail, i.e., it can't fail? Or does she mean that unless the government lets it be too big to fail, then—except that to let something be too big to fail, it has to already be too big to fail, so...

I'm pretty sure that Ms. Shefchik's statement is in fact gibberish. But that didn't stop these defenders of the Queen's English from citing it approvingly. Dolts.
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