One of the pleasures in blogging is the ability to point people to other sources, other writers, building a sense of community in the audience. Today has been ripe with posts to recommend.
Jan Freeman explores the pleasures people take in peeving about language. She suspects that it is an exercise that has no real effect on actual usage but rather serves to solidify a group identity among the peevers, reinforcing their sense of themselves as an educated elite buffeted by barbarians. She suggests that, instead of taking part in these sterile exercises, one might enlist in the ranks of the counter-peevers who, like herself, debunk superstitions.*
At Language Log, Geoffrey Pullum takes a clear-eyed look at the uproar over Rep. Todd Akin's remark about "legitimate rape," suggesting that the Senate candidate may have merely meant "if it's a genuine rape, legitimately classified as such," rather than, say, a false accusation. Of course, when put in the context of Mr. Akin's peculiar views about human physiology, it becomes harder to defend as innocuous. But then, as Mr. Pullum points out, there's the spectacle of the Democratic piling-on for political advantage, including President Obama's helpful statement that rape is a bad thing. At least no one, to date, has come out as pro-rape.
Mind you, I do not contest the right of the good people of Missouri to send to the United States Senate a moron, particularly one whom they have returned to Congress several times. And should they do so in November, it wouldn't surprise me for a nanosecond.
Weighing in on a collateral matter in the Akin uproar, Steve Buttry discusses the ill-judged comments by Politico's Dave Catanese. What his maladroit effort to excuse Mr. Akin's "poor phrasing" shows is not only bad judgment but laziness. I was struck, as was Mr. Buttry, by his asking "what's the science?" Mr. Catanaese purports to be a journalist, but he asks what the science is about rape and pregnancy? They don't have access to Google at Politico? They don't know any physicians? This is what journalism has come to, bloviating opinion without even a token effort to establish factual accuracy?
Jeff Sonderman at Poynter also has a look at Mr. Catanese's sloppiness.
While we're at Poynter, Craig Silverman's post about young journalists and plagiarism is thoughtful and informed.
At the Columbia Journalism Review, an article on Niall Ferguson's tendentious and fact-challenged attack on President Obama in Newsweek shows that I was prescient in allowing my subscription to lapse.
Read on, read on.
*She recommends this blog by name, so you may now count yourselves among the elite of peeve debunkers, a much more select group than the peeververein.