Sunday, September 11, 2011

3354 Exacerbated exasperation

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ad for Norwegian Cruise Line:
Most of the Earth is covered by water. And most of the water is covered by Norwegians.


I haven't had the TV or radio on all day, so I assume NYC is still standing. I don't see any smoke columns in the Northeast.


People whose livelihood depends on language don't seem to know the difference any more between "exacerbate" and "exasperate". More and more I am hearing the latter when they mean the former. Very tiresome.


I am also frustrated by polls that slant the questions. I saw one yesterday that's a prime example. The question was, "Do you agree with President Barack Obama’s plan to slash Social Security to 3.1 percent for workers? (Yes) (No)" Naturally, the response was overwhelmingly "No", and I suspect this will be reported as "The public overwhelmingly rejects...blah blah".

The pollsters know that the public are idiots, have zero reading comprehension skills, and will vote on the emotional impact of "slash Social Security to 3.1% for workers."

If the question had been "blah blah ... slash the Social Security tax paid by workers, thereby increasing their annual take home pay by an average of $1500 per year", which is the actual question, then I strongly suspect that the answer would have been different. Of course, that's slanting it the other way.


This is why I NEVER believe the results of polls.Link

I am currently reading Sisters, by Kathleen Thompson Norris, published sometime in the late '20s. It was one of the free book offers for the Kindle, and I selected it because it was one of the few I'd never heard of. (Reviews at

You can read the reviews, folks love it or hate it. I'm not finished yet, so I have no opinion other than that I'm tired of the lavish descriptions of the beauty of Cherry, the youngest character. Ok, we get it! Also of the way absolutely everything comfortable is lovingly described as "shabby".

What no other reviewer has mentioned but which shocked me is the casual racism. Discussing the prospect of an excellent job in Mexico, the characters decide it's not a place Cherry would want to follow her husband, since no country where the native inhabitants are black, brown, or yellow is worth visiting, because if there were anything to recommend it, the inhabitants would be white.

Also, Chinese household help abounds, and their employers speak to them in babytalk pidgin.

All very casual and accepted.

That was then. This is now. But I'm still surprised that no other reviewer noted it as one of the elements that dates the book. It's the casualness that dates it. Mark Twain, for example, was not casual.


I dislike people who chew with their mouths open. I despise those do it with crunchy things in movie theaters! I want to leap over seats and throttle them!

Close your damn mouth!

1 comment:

the queen said...

NYC is still standing, but Fox just broke into their 9.11 rebroadcast retrospective with a Breaking News alert. My heart stopped, but the president is just speaking at the Concert of Hope