Saturday, August 15, 2009

Woodstock, Reagan, and the Decline of Standards (1 of 4)

I only recently watched Shattered Glass with Helen, and there’s a scene that makes Marty Peretz look like an ogre for making The New Republic staff go through the magazine marking comma errors, since he denounced it as “rife with comma errors,” telling them commas, when offsetting some subordinate idea in mid-sentence, should come in pairs.

Well, today is day one of the four-day fortieth anniversary of Woodstock, but rather than dressing like a hippie or reading a liberal magazine, this morning I read a short book of The Wit & Wisdom of Ronald Reagan edited by James C. Humes (quite comforting — we actually had a funny, impassioned, [Goldwaterite-]principled conservative president, lest we forget), and the one flaw in my enjoyment was a negative quote about him that had a jarring (to an editor’s eye) comma error in it:

“Ronald Reagan is an ignoramus, a conscious and persistent falsifier of fact, a deceiver of the electorate, and, one suspects of himself.”

Plainly, there should be a comma after “one suspects,” and only after noting that with some annoyance did I see that the quote was credited to “John Osborne, New Republic writer.”  Maybe Peretz wasn’t so crazy.

P.S. I noticed the other day that typing into my browser was causing a split-second redirect to — further evidence for my theory that Canada is somehow tied to all things squishy and moderate?

1 comment:

Jacob T. Levy said...

re– it’s been like that for, I think, two years, ever since [not long after] Canwest bought the magazine. The lagtime in showing the alias was probably just a little bit longer, so you noticed it.