Sunday, November 23, 2008

NaBloPoMo, Day 23: Prop 8, Manners + Grammar

I heard a great interview on NPR last week with Kai Wright, writer for The Root. The interview was a follow up to his Root article The Prop 8 Blame Game in which Wright unpacks the racism and homophobia the Prop 8 vote shined an unflattering light upon. Wright also untangles the much bandied-about polling that got many white people's knickers, including my own, in such a twist. Of interest are the poll numbers not discussed in the media: that six out of ten people over the age of 65 also voted yes on 8, as did white Protestants, and people with children under the age of 18, according to Wright. Thought provoking to be sure.

Last night at a group dinner we started talking about the correct way to negotiate the bread and butter at a restaurant. I was definitely raised to do it this way, though I don't have a clear memory of who taught me this. I suspect it was Nanny. These conventions can seem fusty but feel important to me. Must be my Virgo need for order and tidiness--clearly selective since I just received a postcard from a mold colony that's recently taken up residence in my refrigerator. And obviously not at home with friends, where it's perfectly acceptable to eat with your fingers and lick the plate. But out in the world, especially at a nice restaurant? YES.

In other nitpicky issues, Liz and I were talking this morning about one of my favorite topics, correct use of the apostrophe s. She was vexed about inconsistent use of the apostrophe s in her workplace. Based on her observations, I believe there is grievous misuse going on in that setting, which parallels what's happening in society at large. To wit: in the magazine title Ladies' Home Journal, "ladies" is both plural and possessive, so the apostrophe s is used correctly. On the other hand: Boys and Girls Club of America? FAIL. Any grammarians out there please feel free to correct me.

As I was writing this I remembered that a few years ago at work I was reviewing some documents from a state agency with an HR person and noticed that the word "employee" was misspelled everywhere as "employe." When I pointed this out, as you know I surely did, he informed me that as a time and money saving measure, this state agency had decided to formally drop the last "e." To my horror, I learned that this an accepted spelling variation. But not accepted by Professional Critic. FAIL.


batwinger said...

Ooo, you know I am always grateful for another soldier in the war on misplaced apostrophe's. Heh heh.

Also I reviewed the etiquette notes and was relieved to find that I know and (at least in restaurants) practice all of them. Thank you, mean and cranky stepmother who made every meal a living hell with her etiquette rules.

Professional Critic said...

Excellent, Batwinger! What do you make of the apostrophe-free Boys and Girls Club of America?

batwinger said...

It's not their club, clearly. Could it be a large blunt implement designed to stun them? Like a golf club is a club for golfing, a boys and girls club is a club for ... clubbing boys and girls?

I give up.

But my captcha is wingst!!! Can you believe?