Yesterday was a bad grammar day. I kept on noticing so many little grammar mistakes everywhere I went, and it really annoyed me. By far, however, the largest one was pointed out to me by my coworker—this sign on the front of our GM dealership.
Take a moment to look at it. “Last year GM more than doubled the sales of it’s nearest competitor.” Firstly, there’s the glaringly obvious mistake: “it’s” means it is. In context of the sentence, I believe they meant to use “its”. This is a common mistake for reasons that escape me—how hard is it to memorize when to use its and when to use it‘s?
Now read the message again, slowly. What do you think it is saying? GM has more than doubled the sales of its competitor? To me, that sounds like GM has more than doubled its competitor’s sales, which is to say, its competitor’s sales have been doubled because of GM. So now GM is helping its competition? Right.
So I decided that the only thing to do was to ask about it. Today my friend Alex and I went to the GM dealership and asked about the sign. They were really quite pleasant. An artist from Saskatchewan hand-painted the sign right onto the glass. They were aware of the grammatical error but not the phrasing issue—the sentence itself comes from a GM report. The general manager wasn’t in, but I did get his business card. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it—I was just curious, and the only way to satisfy my curiosity was to ask. So far I am apparently the only person to actually come in and ask about the sign.
Anyone else noticed this new iGoogle thing that Google has going for it?
What’s with the name? You would think that a company as creative as Google would be able to come up with a better name than something that—well, frankly, that sounds like a bad Apple rip-off. And this isn’t just Google’s problem. iWhatever has become the new “Whatever X” of our generation. I feel sorry for the poor letter—it’s not even uppercase! And it’s being attached willy-nilly to products and services just because it sounds cool.
In fact, if the current trend continues, we’ll run out of i’s to use in every day conversation! Soon conversaton wll look lke ths, because we wn’t have enough eyes to go around.
- wll be the end of cvlzaton as we know t.
But I digress. Anyone else tried iGoogle? It looks interesting. I use regular Google as my homepage because it is quick to load, but I think I will try out iGoogle for a week or two to see if I like having all this information at my finger tips better.
Often you’ll read one critic or intellectual or another say something along the lines of how Hollywood is destroying the movie industry, creating cheap flicks at the expense of “art” and “culture”. And as much as I am sometimes tempted to agree with this cynical evaluation of our entertainment industry, I can’t bring myself to jump on that bandwagon. I just can’t.
I have observed that more movies are “packaged” these days. What are “packaged” movies? Well, these are the hits that look and feel like the director simply sent in a form from a mail-order catalogue—he or she filled out the title and main characters, and the company sent back a pre-packaged movie: special effects, music, etc. Movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, and—especially with its third installment—Spider-Man are packaged blockbusters.
Are packaged movies inherently evil? Does it make a movie bad? Of course not. I like each of those three movie series above—although none of them are particularly spectacular—but they aren’t moving and they aren’t cathartic. And sometimes you need that. Sometimes you don’t need a purging; you just need some action, some humour, and some explosions. The only reservation I carry is that it’s too reflective of certain negative aspects of our society—namely, this increasing dependence on pre-packaged items, like food, that we just buy in bulk at a grocery store.
There are the “indie” films, complete with festivals, to attempt to carry on the art-form that Hollywood has—so some say—left behind. The problem with this phenomenon is not its goals, but rather, its demographic. The people who go to film festivals are precisely the type of people who like the films at film festivals. Which brings us to the hilt of the matter: the audience. Do people really want art? Or do they want entertainment?
The answer has and always will be both, and this is why I can’t endorse those pessimistic and pretentious pundits who pretend to put-down Hollywood. I’m going to use Shakespeare as an example. Take King Lear, for instance. King Lear is one of my favourite plays and one of Shakespeare’s best. It has pithy intellectual themes, and as a tragedy, is carefully written to move us to pity and compassion for the terrible tribulations of the hero, Lear, and his descent into madness. But Shakespeare was no fool. His plays weren’t wildly successful just because of these themes—they were successful because they were also entertaining. King Lear has humour aplenty—ribald or otherwise—and that’s why it has endured 400 years’ worth of Eberts. If the jokes seem stale (or you just can’t get them), it isn’t because they’re silly. They just get lost in translation; the language differences over the past four centuries make Shakespeare a tad hard to understand at times.
Yet I digress. Shakespeare and his ilk knew something about how to get a crowd’s attention, and how to leave a part of their work with the crowd when the play was done. That’s why the movie industry isn’t in “decline”. This perception of decline is just a misinterpretation of the charts. We‘re changing all right, but we’re always changing—it’s what culture does. It’s a reaction to the last two decades of increasing technological development. Technology affects movies faster than it does stage or books (and to a degree, music) because of the visual nature of the medium; advanced technology means advanced movie-making techniques. Technology has developed more in the past two decades than it has in the past century. And it shows no signs of plateauing, so we have to be ready for more change.
Culture is dead. Long live culture!
The Visa credit card company is always trying to give us free stuff. Think about it: “win what you buy”? That grocery contest? We all know that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. The glorious capitalist system was founded on such a principle. So if Visa is giving away things for free, then they are violating the very foundation of free-market economy.
Is Visa in league with the terrorists? It wouldn’t surprise me: working away at our morals from the inside. It’s of course the only logical conclusion.
You might argue that Visa only uses these contests as promotional ventures to encourage spending through the Visa credit card. Quite frankly I think such detractors from my logical argument simply harbour sympathies for Visa and other communist conspirators!
I’m glad I’ve exposed this plot to shake the very pillars of prosperity before it went too far.
For the past week we‘ve been watching The Patriot in history class. The movie is moving in some parts. There are incredibly tender moments, like when Susan finally speaks to her father and breaks down just as he’s leaving again. That part almost made me cry. Unfortunately, the latter part of the movie lacked that same emotional fervour, simply because I was too busy laughing.
And this is through no fault of the director. The movie was very accurate. I just can’t get over how silly warfare was back in that time.
Everyone arranges his- or herself in nice, neat lines. Then the two sides march forward. One side fires, reloads, while the other side fires. If you get shot, you get shot. It is, as Mr. Nowak puts it, “gentlemanly warfare”. And watching it on a television makes it look so absurd! The melée part with bayonets and swords isn’t so bad. But just the initial firing of musket volleys looks so ridiculously polite that I completely understand why guerrilla warfare surged in popularity afterward. Sure, you had to clean your uniform more often—but at least you were alive.
So that got me thinking. Some current rules of war make sense, like treating members of the Red Cross, Sweden, and American Idol with neutrality, etc. Others are just weird. Like one (well, it’s not really a rule so much as a “strategy”) is the idea of “mutually assured destruction” as a deterrent to nuclear war.
What are some current rules of war or military strategies/policies that you think are absurd?
I‘m envious because I have never thought of something so funny. Those Mac versus PC commercials are fun on their own, but this parody is very clever. There’s 4 in total (the first has links to the rest); #1 and #4 are the funniest, but the other two are still very cool.
Share and enjoy!