John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.
Monday, August 31, 2009
I am not making this up, you know
Item: The debate over health care reform is taking on a refreshing candor. Yesterday, David Sheets out in St. Louis put up a link on Facebook to FactCheck.org’s article “Twenty-six lies about H.R. 3200."* Among the Facebookers responding was one Dan Devine, who said, in part:
There are many good ideas to reform the current structure, which has worked well enough for me. I've worked hard to get the coverage I have and don’t want risk losing it. The current package seems to be a way to provide free health care for the baby boomers as they age; sorry, I’m not interested in helping them.
If you, dear reader, are like me, a person in your fifties, particularly if you are also someone whose presence is no longer required in the workplace, I plan to take Mr. Devine’s hint and see whether I can contract with the Oriental Trading Company or Archie McPhee or some similar company to manufacture buttons for us reading:
DO NOT RESUSCITATE
You know it’s the right thing to do.
Item: If you join me in the categories mentioned in the previous item, there’s a word for it, to which we are alerted by the ever-alert Fritinancy: mancession. A mancession is a recession in which unemployment hits men disproportionately more than women.
Item: I will be back in the classroom at Loyola tomorrow morning at 9:25, where seventeen vulnerable undergraduates are signed up to be introduced to the occult secrets of copy editing. Keep them in your thoughts.
*FactCheck.org, PolitiFact.com, and similar operations are not among those sites for people who already know what they think before they hear any specifics. They hark back to the outdated principles in print journalism — you remember newspapers — of attempting to publish verifiable, factual material.