John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and random topics. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. The original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/, at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/, and now at https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/columnists/mcintyre/
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Please, dear people at NPR and journalists elsewhere, keep always in mind that if you report on religion you must master the lingo. And each branch you encounter will have its own distinctive nomenclature, fatally easy to get wrong.
For purposes of the U.S. Episcopal Church, one branch of the Anglican Communion:
Episcopalians are members of Episcopal congregations, NOT Episcopals are members of Episcopalian congregations. The Episcopal Church — not the Episcopalian Church — is an episcopal polity (with authority given to bishops).
Do say it over to yourselves two or three times.
Then go and sin no more.
From page 8: “The rise of Idiot America today reflects—for profit, mainly, but also, and more cynically, for political advantage in the pursuit of power—the breakdown of the consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people we should trust the least are the people who know best what they’re talking about. In the new media age, everybody is a historian, or a scientist, or a preacher, or a sage. And if everyone is an expert, then nobody is, and the worst thing you can be in a society where everybody is an expert is, well, an actual expert."
In my own parochial way, I said something similar earlier this year in a post, “Crisis of authority.” But Mr. Pierce makes the point more forcibly and more entertainingly: America “is drowning in information and thirsty for knowledge” and suffering from “lazy, pulpy tolerance for risible ideas.”
If you are curious about these risible ideas, his introduction describes a visit to the Creation Museum in Hebron, Kentucky, where visitors can marvel at a model of a dinosaur wearing an English saddle — since, of course, human beings and dinosaurs were contemporaneous when the world began in 4004 B.C.
Expect a fuller report once I finish the book.