Buggy whips. Gas lamps. TVs with rabbit ears. Cars without seatbelts. Rotary phones. Dial-up modems. Pauly Shore. Copy editors.
Everything listed above is obsolete, old hat, antediluvian, bygone, timeworn, and generally kaput. Why do I mention “copy editors,” a group of fine hardworking Americans that includes my own self, your obedient language guardian Uncle Grumpy? Because if anybody with one sentient brain cell could still edit copy, grammatical horrors like these wouldn’t be sprouting like Kardashians:
“When emergency responders got to the seen, the man was deceased.”
“The victim was badly burned from the waste down.”
“Coastal elites really have a vice grip on the House Democratic Caucus.”
I know some of you are thinking that last one is correct, but it should be VISE grip. A vise is a tool, which rhymes with fool, which is what I must be for getting so steamed about this.
And when I say STEAMED, I mean I look like I’ve got tiny teakettles boiling in both ears. Because words and language were the heart of my working life – on radio and TV, in print, and online – it kills me to wade through this kind of sloppiness and ignorance. I constantly see things, written by adults who are getting paid to write them, that would’ve earned me a big fat red F in English from first grade on.
I try not to take it personally. I know the legions of scribes on the web really aren’t plotting against my sanity: “Hey, I’m gonna write ‘The clouds has moved offshore’ so I can send Uncle Grumpy around the bend!” (Not to be confused with up the creek, up the river, over the river and through the woods, up the pole, or over the hill, though that applies to me too.)
I sometimes wish the ‘net gods had never invented spellcheck, which allows “My longtime spouse” to become “My longtime souse.” The real problem is that our attention spans are so decimated by nonstop surfing that even the most hideous goofs just don’t register. Any day, some major news outlet will write a headline about President-Elect Tramp and no one will bat an eye.