Sunday, February 24, 2013

Grammar Nazi's, Mall of America Economics, and More!

on the latest installment of The Clarey Podcast!

(HUGE LANGUAGE WARNING ON THE FIRST SEGMENT, though it IS the best rant against grammar Nazis you'll ever hear)


Anonymous said...

I disagree with your sentiments, Mr. Clarey.

The dearth in the ability of the new generation to speak plainly, accurately, and respectfully should be alarming to those who worry about the future of this country.

Fact is, large portions of the population are functionally illiterate. They also vote, by the way. If you were ever an RPG gamer like the Fallout series, you know well that low "speech" abilities drastically reduce your options of getting things done to: bludgeon, shoot, or otherwise maim. Imagine the same thing in real life on the societal scale. Soft skills like showing up on time and not being a jerk seem, to me, directly correlated to one's ability in English.

I agree that most people doing the grammar nazi thing are just trying to poke holes through your economic ideas solely because the logic is sound and they have little else to attack.

But it becomes a more difficult battle for the crusaders when your logic AND language are sound.

Anonymous said...


English is the most useless bullcrap subject ever. I was lucky in that my HS teacher was nice and sometimes brought pastries. I really liked her, but the subject was terrible.

Roberto Severino said...

With great gold being posted on a regular basis by you and others, it's no wonder I've been having insomnia lately!

Forget the overrated freaking Oscars. I'm gonna listen to your podcast instead.

Spitty said...

It's always nice to have a new podcast to listen to while reloading 250 rounds of 9mm on my single stage press. Helps me cope with the monotony.

VK said...

Linguistics is the descriptive study of language. English teachers, on the other hand, are die-hard prescriptivists. It's not up to linguists to determine "proper" grammar (as if there is such a thing).

In general it seems like the authoritative, custom-driven approach to language is a hallmark of the left (i.e. "shaming language" and such). One of the most frustrating things to people who actually STUDY language is the notion that English has one correct grammar and any deviation thereof is a sign of intellectual weakness. Not to mention the fact that the word "grammar" is used in reference to spelling mistakes and other minor errors that shouldn't prevent a human reader from interpreting something correctly.

Anonymous said...

good stuff, i remember when i was teaching 8th grade english and history i decided most of the kids had no use for the english curriculum and i noticed they enjoyed history, so i decided to teach more history. i was told by my "boss" i needed to teach more english, to which i said history was taught in english. it didnt compute. "english" or "language arts" in the public schools is 90% procedures and bs, 10% repetitive 5 paragraph essays about "your goals". keep at it captain!

PUMPsix said...

Is the economy just one big rationalisation hamster speeding towards the wall? Does it even know that it has hit the wall yet?

John Henry said...

I don't expect you to post this rant, but I hope you at least read it. I had to send in two or three parts to comply with character restrictions of 4096 max.

Your rant against the study of the English language is regrettable. I have read many books good and not so good. What I learned about language was that the writer with a good vocabulary and a good use of language has the ability to make astray interesting and entertaining. Many good writers make their story telling exciting … I have read books that I couldn't put down. I have read others that I tossed in the trash after on chapter. Why is that.

A good writer can paint a picture with words, can make you actually feel that you are right there in the story. That ability does not come from using a lot of "like you know what I am saying;'' and grunting out a few similes. Good writers will rely more on witty metaphor and antidotes to make you think and enjoy the story.or in your case, the information in "Decline".

I know that grammar in middle school is boring, but it is necessary in order to truly understand language and how to use it to it's best ends. You understand much of the minutia of economics and finance. That allows you to impart information at higher level than the average person, most of whom have trouble understanding what compound interest is, never mind the intricacies of a national market economy.

You would get very bored and frustrated listening to someone speaking about economy and finance with only a layman's understanding of the subject. Well, surprise, it's the same with language. There is a big difference between imparting information with basic text and writing a classic novel. Why are some books great and others not so good at all?

There are only three basic scenarios in this world … man against man, man against nature and man against himself. So if everyone is writing about one of those three premises, what makes one book great and another suck? Simple … the quality of the use of language and the ability to actually 'tell a good story'. Can the writer use language in a way that makes the story interesting and entertaining, or is it just a bunch of words on a page that contain a message.

When you rant about your Miss Grundys from school days and berate them as nothings, consider that you are being anti intellectual. I know you are a babe chaser because you write about it a lot …. You may be aware that women, even average ones find masculine AND intellectual men a turn on. I think you are a smart guy, but you sometimes come across as immature. Your writing often sounds like it is at a high school level with the exception of economy and finance. maybe that is why you cannot find babes that interest you … you are attracting air heads.

More to follow

John Henry said...

Language cannot be separated from culture. If a society chooses to allow it's language to deteriorate that culture will deteriorate as America is at this time. I hear the street language and the computer textures uses of language dropping to lower levels every year. I hear young people unable to express a thought. They have no idea how to explain detail. Soon we will be grunting at each other with the aid of some sign language like cavemen did before we got smart enough to develop a more sophisticated and efficient way of communicating.

When a person has a good vocabulary and good use of language, a complex idea or though can expressed efficiently and in an interesting, if not entertaining manner with very few well chose words. That is the sort of thing that make a culture interesting and even admirable. No one but street kids with their ball caps on backward and their pants around their knees appreciate ignorance.

I dropped out of high school in 1960 to be a road musician but I do appreciate language. I worked hard through my life to educate myself in as many areas of interest as I could find time for. It paid off. I am better educated than most of my university grad friends. I did that through reading. Reading interesting writers … not just novels but books on science and history and other topics.

I eventually became a business owner and had to deal with many people at all levels. I was able to rise to whatever standards as required and with good communication skills It was much easier to deal with clients and government agencies as well. When you communicate at a higher level you get more respect from others. That is a distinct advantage.

Life is hard. It's harder if you are stupid. To reject improving ones use of Language is not a sign of genius.

I read your latest book and appreciated the message. Was it entertaining and interesting? Not so much, but I happen to be in agreement with your take on things so I read it for the information value. If you want an example of a man who knows now to make information entertaining, read Mark Steyn sometime He writes about stuff even scarier than what you write about in "Decline" but you will be laughing your way through it.

If this note pisses you off … consider this … I read your blog. You are a critic. So am I. No malice intended.

Pax Empyrean said...

Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.

-Ryan Fuller

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure that there is a theory regarding indebtedness that you speak off, but there is one saying the exact same thing about taxation called Ricardian Equivalence. Not sure if I just ruined your day with another pre-20th century economist reference,but heck - at least I tried.

Anonymous said...

There's no apostrophe needed in Nazi's in your title.

It's plural. Not possessive nor a contraction.

You idiot.

Captain Capitalism said...

John Herny,

I dont' disagree with you at all. But the use or level of the language that your advocating is NOT achieved via modern day English teachers or teaching methods. It's achieved when people converse, write and read AND is left up to the individual to pursue it.

I would say about 90% of grammar nazis couldn't care less about proper English and are just nit picking to feel good about themselves.

Anonymous said...

Steven King was an English teacher.

John Henry said...


T'was big of you to post my rant. I am aware of the decline in the educational industry as you point out. Kid are ripped off today.

I do confess to being and occasional Language Nazi, I try not to, but sometimes its a compulsion. I will double my efforts to resist. I know it's lame.

For any aspiring LN ... here is some fodder.

Anonymous said...

Stephen King, not Steven, I should have said...

Before a pedantic peckerwood corrects it.

Anonymous said...


"T'was" ?

Shirley that was short for "it was"?

does that not make the required contraction "'twas"?

I am English but don't regard myself as a Nazi...but you started it, matey boy.

Uninterested minds etc etc

John Henry said...

'twas |twəz|
archaic or poetic/literary contraction of
it was.

Dear anonymous, I should have placed the apostrophe on the left side of the T.

The quote above is directly from the dictionary.

Looks like you win this round Mr. Nazi.

There will be another day ....

Anonymous said...

Yo, love the podcast.