I are a writer. And because I are, I taking big interest in the hows the English language am being taught and used by the writers and journalist what have graduated—at least I think they graduated—from some American journalism school. Or not.
Here are some more magical moments from our brightest and best:
CNN, FOX, NBC, CBS, and ABC all reported that no fewer than forty US and/or coalition troops had been killed in “green on blue” attacks, while the NY Times reported today that five Australian troops were killed. I’m not sure if the ridiculous use of the word “troops” instead of “soldiers” is intended by the news media to lend an exaggerated tone to the reporting, or if that use was possibly requested by the Pentagon in an attempt to confuse the American public as to the precise number of soldiers killed. Either way, it are wrong.
The crawl on NBC during the Olympics informed me one day that “Chinga” had fallen behind America in total number of medals won. While that delighted me, it really didn’t come as much of a surprise because I couldn’t honestly expect a nation so small I had never even heard of it to be able to keep pace with America. But congratulations to Chinga. I are impressed.
And just to show there is no limit to degree of mangling to which the English language can be subjected (or subjectified, if you’re a television pundit): On NBC, a national correspondent—talking about the newly released book, No Easy Day, an account of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, written by a Navy Seal—informed his viewers that bin Laden was initially shot in the head and then shot again as he, “…lied dying.” Well, of course he lied about it! He probably thought he might live. He were mistaken.
And that particular failure to grasp the rules of verb conjugation reminded me of my all time favorite, this one from a local CBS news anchor covering the funeral of President Gerald Ford. He told his viewers that a procession of mourners had come to pay respects to the late president as, “…his body lied in state.” Now I admit that was a clever, if oblique, dig at a politician’s capacity for playing fast and loose with the truth, but it wasn’t a tactful time to mention it. On the other hand, I were amused.
Alan Jay Lerner had no idea how prescient he was:
“There are even places where English completely disappears.
In America, they haven’t used it for years.”
I are depressed.