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 jemcintyre@gmail.com, 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/.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It just don't add up

Before you go all peevy on me about the headline, you should be reminded that it is a direct quotation from a Warner Bros. cartoon of my youth. I will offer a public salute to the first reader who accurately identifies the source.* What it does indicate is that we live in a world in which many things simply make no sense.

Item: Mattel is producing a series of Barbie-style dolls based on characters from Mad Men. But the dolls will not have drinks and cigarettes as accessories. What next, a Glenn Beck doll that doesn’t cry?

Item: A lawsuit has been filed claiming that the E-Trade commercial showing a “milkaholic” baby named Lindsay appropriates Lindsay Lohan’s name and image without her consent. Oddly, milk is an addiction with which Ms. Lohan has not previously been associated.

As my first news editor, the late Bob Johnson, used to say, “You can sue the Bishop of Boston for bastardy. But can you get a judgment?”

Item: The Itawamba County School Board in Mississippi canceled a high school prom to which a lesbian student wanted to bring a date, saying that it did so “taking into consideration the education, safety and well-being of our students.”

Now I see that I must have been psychologically scarred by the sight of girls dancing with each other at dances when I was in high school. (Not because they were lesbian, mind you, but because the boys mistook awkwardness for masculinity and gracefulness for effeminacy.)

Item: There appear to be a great number of people interested in Tiger Woods’s sex life. There appear also to be a great number of people interested in golf. Neither interest is fathomable.

Item: Warner Bros. has begun development of a Gilligan’s Island movie. Further comment should be superfluous, though you may still have time to light out for the territory.



*Hint: Did you remember the gravy?