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 jemcintyre@gmail.com, 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/

Monday, September 14, 2020

Yokely-dokely

In a fit of frustration I recently posted an injudicious statement, "I try to say that the people where I come from aren't all a bunch of gullible yokels, and then, dammit, they go online," and have since been reproached that I was not raised to speak of people that way. 

I have explained elsewhere how I was raised, and by whom, and I understand how the larger world views the Commonwealth. Only last week I got another "You're from Kentucky?"

But, as they say, let's look at the record of how some of my former classmates disport themselves online. 

The New York Times, of course, gets immediately rejected as a source of information. I've even seen the Associated Press—the dear, gray, drab AP—discounted as utterly corrupted by liberal bias. Some go so far as to dismiss all journalism as unreliable. (One gentleman said journalists just publish things to make money, revealing a hitherto unexpected anti-capitalist streak.) 

Absent journalism, I wonder where they get information, short of divine inspiration. 

Oh, at least one gets it from Breitbart, and others chime in on the comments. Say no more. 

Some believe that Christians are being persecuted in the United States and as an act of bold defiance post pictures of Jesus, the cross, the American flag, and the Pledge of Allegiance on Facebook. (There appears to be some difficulty in differentiating Jesus from the American flag, but we don't have time for theology today.) 

They are given to posting nostalgic reminders of the Fifties, when white men were in charge of everything, women were in the kitchen, Blacks were in the back of the bus, and gays were in the closet. (I was there in the Fifties, in a segregated public school in poverty-stricken Appalachia, and I have no interest in going back.) 

I see people posting dumbass memes (sample: "It's been six months. Shouldn't all the people who don't wear masks be dead by now?") denying the reality of a pandemic that has claimed probably more than 200,000 lives in this country and devastated the economy, while nations that took it seriously are  regaining their footing. 

Any attempt to engage in a discussion is quickly met by whataboutism, straw men, and defensive complaints that I'm trying to make them look dumb by using big words. 

And there's the gentleman who appears to think that calling me a libtard is a sockdolager of a counter-argument. 

So, you tell me. How far off the mark was I? 





 

7 comments:

  1. Yet another essay in the perils of keeping up with your high school classmates, I'm afraid. I happened to Google one of mine not long ago--someone who, back in high school, was a good friend and a reasonable person--and when I saw her Facebook home page, I dropped the idea of contacting her like a hot potato. I've got enough trouble in my life right now as it is.

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  2. How the hell do you manage to include all of neutral quotes, neutral apostrophes, italics, and nospace-emdash-nospace in this posting?

    Are you not “a veteran editor and teacher”?

    Why can you still not touch-type quotation marks and apostrophes?

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  3. You. Were and remain directly on mark.

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  4. You don’t have to use big words to make them look dumb; their words will do. They don’t realize that, of course. Drop by if you’re “home” at any time; there are some of us left whose mouths have not kissed Baal, on either end.

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  5. Poor little John, someone must have peed in his cheerios to get him so upset. I read the same remarks you are speaking about and found only a copy of the Brietbart post. The person posting it did not add any comment on it. I am sure that the people of Kentucky must be content that you do not want to go back to your hometown. Most people don't unless something important calls them. Relax John. Things will get better. Put your feet up and have a glass of Booker's. You deserve it.

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  6. "Sockdolager." Nice Our American Cousin reference!

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