Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Judgment of Dog

I love the Advertiser's Letters and Commentary section. It's like a bad grammar shooting gallery. Here's one from Tuesday:

“It's not about the judgment of Dog or Christian beliefs. It's about a man who puts himself in the public eye and calls himself a readjusted criminal and a role model for our kids. Talks the talk but falls very short of any of the above.”

In the first sentence, “the judgment of Dog” is kind of ambiguous. I'm not really sure whether the author is referring to Dog's sense of judgment or the people's opinions of Dog. I'm also at a loss why Christian beliefs are being judged, or whether they are being judged at all. The second sentence is okay, although putting “readjusted criminal” so close to “role model for our kids” seems somehow... contradictory? And the third sentence is missing its subject. Well, let's see what we can do about this!

“It's not about Christian beliefs or judging Dog; it's about a man in the public eye who calls himself a role model for our kids but falls very short of being one.”

1 comment:

Pat said...

Good analysis, Mitch.

You're right about the first sentence; two interpretations are possible:

1. "It's not about Dog's judgment or his Christian beliefs."

2. "It's not about people's judgment of Dog or their Christian beliefs."

I'm inclined to go with the first since the passage seems to be an evaluation of Dog's thinking and acting choices.

Your point about putting readjusted criminal right next to role model is well taken. The proper word is rehabiliated, I believe; you can see that using that word would have made a big difference. This is a case in which diction (word choice) governs tone.

The sentence you came up with strips the writer of his or her posturing and lets the words carry the weight of his or her argument. This is certainly the better choice, but people who don't read and write a lot will not make it.

P.S. Here's a case, Judy, in which a lot is acceptable usage.