Language Nazi for Today

You know, normally I’m not all that opposed to using nouns as verbs, but it really can get annoying when the appropriate verb already exists. The currently grating example is the word “defense,” which in my dictionary is a noun. This word need not be used as a verb, because there already is a corresponding verb (that would be “defend” for all you idiot football announcers out there who have obviously never heard this word before).

(original date: 1997.10.22)

Journalistic Competence

OK, it’s really been a while now but I’ve had this rant smoldering for quite some time, so I’ll vent it now: journalists. Why is that every time I read a piece of journalism that covers topics in which I’m reasonably knowledgeable (I’ll limit that claim to computers and cognitive psychology, since I have graduate degrees in both), I find the article riddled with misconceptions and inaccuracies? It’s unconscionable! But I think I’ve discovered the answer. If these people actually knew anything about computers or psychology, they’d be in the computer industry or a research psychologist, not a journalist–actual domain experts have work to do in their fields and don’t write for newspapers or TV. So now I’ve come to expect incompetence from journalists, rather than being surprised and annoyed by it. (Well, OK, I try not to be annoyed, anyway.)

(original date: 1997.08.05)

TV Morality

A rant I’ve had brewing for many years: television and morality. Why is it that in the U.S., it’s OK for people to be dismembered on prime-time television, but it’s completely taboo to show a <gasp> bare breast? In Europe, it’s quite the other way around: minor nudity is no big deal, but violence is hard to find on television (other than football–err, soccer–spectators). Is it any wonder the U.S. is so far ahead in violent crime and so Medieval about the human body, when this is what we’re fed over the tube? I think the Europeans have this one way ahead of us here in the States.

(original date: 1997.05.07)

March Madness rant

March Madness rant. Look, will all of you complaining about the RPI just cut it out? Obviously, the RPI doesn’t rule the NCAA Selection committee. Proof? How about TCU? 21-12 record, RPI of 32, which puts them ahead of ELEVEN other at-large bids in RPI rank–so go ahead, tell Tubby Smith (TCU’s coach) about how the NCAA is tied to the RPI. And all the Georgetown and USC fans better be *really* quiet about the RPI, since there were NINE teams ahead of USC in the RPI that didn’t get bids and TEN teams ahead of Georgetown (including a team from the Big East with an identical 19-9 record, West Virginia). So yeah, sure, bitch about selection, but don’t bitch about the use of the RPI–a team’s RPI is clearly not as important as everyone seems to think.

(original date: 1997.03.10)

Sports Gods

Yet another sports rant. No, it’s not about Dennis Rodman kicking a photographer, lots of other folks have said more than enough about how stupid that whole scene is. No, today’s rant is about all the god-freak athletes out there. Look, gang, if the god you believe in is willing to not intervene and let innocent children get slaughtered in civil wars in the Balkans and in Africa, but is willing to intervene to affect the individual performances in sporting contests, well, then it’s a god the rest of us can do without–so shut up about it already.

(original date: 1997.01.21)

WebTV commercials

OK, advertising pet peeve: the new Phillips/Magnavox “Web TV” commercials, where they say “What’s missing? That’s right, the computer.” Hel-lo, but what the hell is in that little box on top of the TV, little green men? Could it be… a computer? Morons…

(original date: 1996.12.16)

Lou Holtz

Another sports rant, this time Lou Holtz. Why is everybody making such a big deal over it? He’s a classless whiner and the faster he gets out of the spotlight the better off we’ll all be. Here’s a good illustration of the classlessness: In his final home game against Rutgers, he was up five touchdowns against a clearly overmatched team. Did he put in the subs and just try to run out the clock? Nope, there was starter Ron Powlus in, throwing deep, so that Notre Dame could run it up 62-0. Totally, totally vulgar.

(original date: 1996.11.26)

Atlanta Olympics

OK, the Olympic and dissertation break from ranting is over, and I’m gonna rant about the Olympics. I had a blast. Every single person I talked to (and believe me, on those MARTA trains and in the stands, I saw a lot of folks) had a blast, just a totally terrific time. But, of course, the out-of-town media and the IOC had lots of bad things to say. Um, hello? I hate to break it to you, but the Olympics are not for the media or even the IOC. They’re for the athletes and the fans. We were happy, so the media and the IOC can just piss off, thank you very much. The Atlanta Olympics were awesome, no matter what these pampered whiners said.

(original date: 1996.08.08)

Jordan vs. Seles

Michael Jordan as “Comeback performer of the year”? Hello? Let me get this straight, the guy voluntarily retires because he wants to screw around on a baseball field, then returns because he isn’t very good at it, and he gets comeback performer over Monica Seles, who returned from being stabbed by a fan on the court and made it to the U.S. Open finals? Yeah, sure, MJ is the greatest to ever wear a basketball uniform, but puh-lease. Monica Seles by a mile on this one.

(original date: 1996.05.24)