The pen is messier.

I defy you to read the first three paragraphs of this Laura Berman column from the Detroit News and not read the rest:

The president of the Detroit school board, Otis Mathis, is waging a legal battle to steer the academic future of 90,000 children, in the nation’s lowest-achieving big city district.

He also acknowledges he has difficulty composing a coherent English sentence. Here’s a sample from an e-mail he sent to friends and supporters on Sunday night, uncorrected for errors of spelling, grammar, punctuation and usage. It begins:

If you saw Sunday’s Free Press that shown Robert Bobb the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools, move Mark Twain to Boynton which have three times the number seats then students and was one of the reason’s he gave for closing school to many empty seats.

The column goes on to describe Mathis’ epic battles with the written word, asking whether his ability to succeed in spite of it (he has a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State, but it took more than a decade to get, because he couldn’t pass the English proficiency exam) is good news or bad. There’s no clear answer, but it made me think about writing and what it takes to do it a) well and/or b) competently. You can imagine my feelings about it; looking back on my romantic history, I don’t think I ever had a serious relationship with a man who couldn’t turn a phrase. They varied widely in formal education, but they could all write a decent letter or inscribe a book with style. It’s not like I went looking for them; it just worked out that way. I doubt a math PhD would marry someone who couldn’t balance the family checkbook.

Over many years, I’ve managed to overcome my belief that bad spelling is a character flaw, and friends, that has taken some doing. I’ve known enough very smart people who could barely spell cat and dog that I’ve grown into the belief it’s a form of learning disorder. (First, I have to believe you actually tried to learn, however.) One of my college boyfriends handed me a grocery list once: chese, pasto (penny), letus. I still get an occasional e-mail from him — funny but atrociously spelled. I don’t think he even sees the mistakes, and has the sense to rely on proofreaders for his business correspondence.

Others would feel the same way about me, and my mathematic illiteracy. I can do the big four — add, subtract, multiply and divide — but Kate, in seventh grade, knows better than to ask me for help on her math homework; she outran me with numbers a year or two ago.

But at least I’m not in charge of anyone else’s money, or doing calculations of load-bearing pillars. Mathis is on a school board, its president. And he’s a living embodiment of that contemporary nightmare — the diploma-holding (degree-holding!) graduate who’s functionally illiterate.

Of course, Detroit is a special case:

“We picked him (to be president) because we thought he has the intelligence for it and the tolerance for disruptive behavior,” says Reverend David Murray. “He has that type of calm.”

This is a district where board meetings often feature “disruptive behavior” — a citizen’s group organized a grape-throwing incident on one memorable occasion — so maybe this is a special case. But I doubt it. Grosse Pointe’s most recent board president has a blog that he not only writes himself, it contains his own complex but understandable analyses of financial documents. You could hardly pick a better example of how far apart two adjacent districts can be in this strange land of southeast Michigan.

OK, folks. Back to the grind. I’m a word-churning machine for the next fortnight, and the warmup has lasted long enough.

Posted at 9:46 am in Same ol' same ol' |
 

33 responses to “The pen is messier.”

  1. Snarkworth said on March 4, 2010 at 10:07 am

    I don’t think I ever had a seri­ous rela­tion­ship with a man who couldn’t turn a phrase.

    Yes. Because a well-turned phrase is foreplay. No one gets to second base without it.

  2. moe99 said on March 4, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Ah yes, Snarkworth, but well turned phrases can be spoken and serve as foreplay too. I once had a boyfriend, a photographer, who was witty as hell verbally, but dyslexic. His “Merry Xams” homemade holiday card that he sent out one year was quite unintentioanl but became, locally, rather famous.

    Still friends after all these years and he remains a fabulous photographer.

  3. Bob (not Greene) said on March 4, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Nance, Your copy editing days are showing through with that headline. All you need is to adjust the kerning. We had one of those headlines tacked to a bulletin board in the newsroom back in the day. I think our friend Kim might have been the one who found it, now that I think of it.

    The lack of writers in the U.S. is in direct proportion to the value the general public gives writing. Oh, sure, it gets plenty of lip service. But how many times have all of us heard an English degree (or any other liberal arts degree for that matter) ridiculed because it wasn’t some sort of vocational training program?

  4. coozledad said on March 4, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Whereas being a school administrator is precisely the opposite of foreplay; antiplay, even. i.e. “Everyone in my junior high school was flummoxed when it was discovered the principal was having his nubbin gobbed by the secretary: it ran counter to all the available empirical evidence.”

  5. brian stouder said on March 4, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Here in Fort Wayne, our school system is on the front end of major budget cuts, and although our superintendent (the estimable Dr Wendy Robinson) is locally rooted (and not some carpet bagger, as we’ve had in previous decades) media-friendly, well spoken and consistently ahead of the curve*, we have the usual round of talk-radio “solutions” currently hanging in the air (basically, whack everyone’s pay, and especially Dr Robinson’s). The big problem with the guy in Detroit is that he will be made into a representative for ALL urban (read – “those people”) city school systems, and the polar opposite of suburban school systems and parochial schools (read – “our people”).

    *Friend of Nance and school board member Mark GiaQuinta is fighting the good fight; we’ll see if grapes fly at the big public meeting next week

  6. Peter said on March 4, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Otis, Sarah; Sarah, Otis. You two will get along famously.

  7. basset said on March 4, 2010 at 11:13 am

    That’s the nature of large-city school systems – hire someone who’s going to fix everything, when it’s not done two or three years later you get rid of them and find someone else who…

    and it goes round and round, swirling down the plumbing.

    here in Tennessee, “cut their pay and fire half of ’em” is usually accompanied by “give ’em a good country butt-whuppin’.”

  8. LAMary said on March 4, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I have two sons. Both are good readers and both are well spoken. They have good vocabularies and know how to speak in complete, usually well constructed sentences. One of them writes beautifully and the other writes as if English is a foreign language to him. I have no idea why. His writing is all run-ons and fragments.

  9. nancy said on March 4, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Late-breaking update: My journo friends tell me Reverend David Murray, quoted in support of Mathis, had his name legally changed to “Reverend” to help him get elected. (Although he is said to lead a flock of 10 souls.) I don’t know why I didn’t know that. Murray also lost custody of his four kids a couple years ago, on the grounds of abuse and neglect. Presumably that reduced the size of his congregation to six.

    So you can see why illiteracy isn’t necessarily the worst thing you can say about a Detroit school board member.

  10. Michael said on March 4, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Another interesting quirk of the Detroit School Board is Reverend David Murray whom you quoted. Please note, I did not say “the” Reverend David Murray.

    In his first bid for election he was informed that the title “Reverend” was not permitted to accompany his name on the ballot. No problem. A quick trip to Probate Court and $15.00 and now his legal name is “Reverend David Murray” which does appear on the ballot.

    More troubling was last year’s removal of several foster children from Murray’s home based on a finding by the Department of Social Services that they were neglected.

    Yes, this guy is among those in charge of our school children.

  11. john c said on March 4, 2010 at 11:30 am

    One of the more curious habits I’ve observed is the business people – often high-level business people – who view sloppy writing, especially in e-mails, as some sort of badge of honor. I remember one, a good friend, tell me he doesn’t have time to “clean it up.” The implication was that he was busy thinking about bigger things. It was at a party. And I was too polite to tell him my view, namely that clear writing comes from clear thinking and sloppy writing comes from sloppy thinking; and that maybe a big part of his job was to clearly communicate powerful ideas to his organization, inspiring them to great things. But what do I know? Don’t even get me started about jargon.
    And for the record, my corporate honcho wife is an excellent writer!

  12. nancy said on March 4, 2010 at 11:34 am

    My sister is a good writer, too, and went into business by way of a B.A. in English. She pegs bad business writing to the rise of undergrad B-school programs, which turn out clever dunces who can make a killer PowerPoint, but couldn’t write a paragraph of simple prose to save their lives.

  13. Catherine said on March 4, 2010 at 11:38 am

    One problem with education as a profession/industry is that it tends to attract people who had happy educational experiences as children. These people were good at sitting still, listening, following directions, lining up and writing 5-paragraph essays. They tend to create today’s schools in the image of the schools in which they were successful and happy. This tendency is short-changing many, many students. Today’s kids’ brains are wired differently, and old techniques don’t work. Plus, today’s workforce does not need some of the skills the schools stress — for instance, telling time using an analog clock — while it does need other useful things like emotional intelligence.

    I’m not saying this guy is a great superintendent; but I would suggest that great spelling and perfect grammar are way down on the list of qualifications for that position. Remembering to use the spell and grammar review before you hit send, well, that does seem a bit more important.

  14. alex said on March 4, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Remem­ber­ing to use the spell and gram­mar review before you hit send, well, that does seem a bit more important.

    Remembering to proofread and weed out the unsolicited and invariably incorrect changes made to my work by MS Word is even more important still.

  15. brian stouder said on March 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Today’s kids’ brains are wired dif­fer­ently, and old tech­niques don’t work.

    I’ve read – often enough to believe it – that our culture’s move away from pens and pencils in general, and onto keyboards is creating a huge diminution in handwriting skills; not even to mention our new-found love of (semi-literate) “texting”*. Honest to goodness, I AM feeling like I’m an old man now, muttering about “these kids nowadays”.

    *Forget the Blogmistress’s distaste for adverbs; I HATE when nouns get verbed! “Texting”? Leaving aside that the shorthand gibberish people zip to one another on their little cell phones and gadgets is the opposite of anything I’d call “text”, Blecchh!!

  16. Julie Robinson. said on March 4, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    After raising two kids, I think that spelling ability is similar to math ability; you either have it naturally or you will struggle. Like Nance, I couldn’t help them with math after 5th grade, but they still need me to proof their writing.

    But I wonder, will today’s youth be wooed by a well-turned text message?

  17. 4dbirds said on March 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Good writing and the joy of reading it will never go away no matter what the medium. Those who have a knack for writing forget there are millions of people who find writing sheer torture. If technology and short messages help them function and flourish then I’m all for it.

    My musician husband is a purist in that if you can’t read music and/or play an instrument, he doesn’t feel you are ‘musical’. If I can’t read music or play an instrument but I can use the technology of a computer to create music, doesn’t that make me musical?

  18. Connie said on March 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I have decided that spelling is genetic. My late father in law the school superintentendent couldn’t spell. My husband can’t spell. I have always been a spelling whiz. My daughter inherited the can’t spell from her father. This girl is about to graduate from Butler, and has been accepted to grad school at IU SPEA, even with her spelling problem.

  19. Deborah said on March 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    My daughter, her father and his father all have the exact same issues when it comes to spelling – they don’t know when to use or not use double consonants. I’ve always thought spelling ability was an inherited trait.

    I am a lousy writer but I used to be a pathetic writer. I had to improve because of work. I write very slowly and have to reread what I’ve written over and over until I think it communicates what I want to say. I also have a hard time expressing myself verbally (orally?), I often can’t think of the word I want to use in conversation or presentations. I tend to speak haltingly and a lot of people try to finish my sentences for me which drives me nuts. But I can draw pretty well and can express my ideas visually very well. I figure I’m right brained or something.

  20. Bruce Fields said on March 4, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    “I doubt a math PhD would marry some­one who couldn’t bal­ance the fam­ily checkbook.”

    You get a math PhD by writing proofs. It’s specialized writing, but writing nonetheless. Then there’s the papers, course materials, and grant applications. Math PhDs who are better at arithmetic than writing are the exception!

    “Remem­ber­ing to use the spell and gram­mar review before you hit send, well, that does seem a bit more important.”

    Developers of grammar-correction software could adopt Mathis’s memos as some sort of ultimate torture-test.

    (Firefox, meanwhile, is convinced that I’m British. Someday I’ll either convince it otherwise or cave in and start writing “maths” and “specialised”.)

  21. Hexdecimal said on March 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    First, let me say there is writing, and then there is this:

    SET RMARGIN = 132, PAGE_LENGTH = 55,
    DISPLAY_PAGE = NO, DISPLAY_LINE = NO, DISPLAY_END = NO

    ———-
    DECLARE VARIABLE
    :X48H CHAR(4), :X31D CHAR(4), :XPPP INT (1)

    ———-
    READ :X1 CHAR(1) PROMPT ‘Facility A WKLST by NSGSTN; Press ENTER’,
    :XSTN1 CHAR(3) PROMPT ‘Enter 1st Nursing Stn or use the word ALL’,
    :XSTN2 CHAR(3) PROMPT ‘Enter 2nd Nursing Stn or F4 skips rest’,
    :XSTN3 CHAR(3) PROMPT ‘Enter 3rd Nursing Stn or F4 skips rest’,
    :XSTN4 CHAR(3) PROMPT ‘Enter 4th Nursing Stn or F4 skips rest’,
    :XSTN5 CHAR(3) PROMPT ‘Enter 5th Nursing Stn or F4 skips rest’,
    :X9 CHAR(1) PROMPT ‘Press ENTER to start OR F10 to stop now’
    ———-
    SELECT XA.STATION_CD AS XSTA LEFT 3,
    CASE WHEN XSTA IN (‘2EA’,’2EB’,’2EC’,’2ED’,’2EE’,’2EF’,’2W’,
    ‘3EA’,’3EB’,’3W’ ,’4EA’,’4EB’,’4W’,’5EA’,
    ‘5EB’,’5W’,’5W1′,’6EA’,’6EB’,’6W’,’CCU’,’DCU’,
    ‘CVU’,’ICU’,’NSY’,’OB’, ‘ORC’,’ORO’)
    THEN ‘A’ ELSE ‘?’ END AS XFAC LEFT 1,
    CASE WHEN XFAC | :XSTN1 = ‘AALL’
    THEN XSTA
    WHEN XFAC = ‘A’
    AND XSTA IN (:XSTN1,:XSTN2,:XSTN3,:XSTN4,:XSTN5)
    THEN XSTA
    ELSE ” END AS XSTN LEFT 3,
    XA.ROOM_NBR | ‘-‘ | XA.BED_NBR AS XRAB LEFT 7,
    XA.MED_LINK@INS_COB_1_LINK@CARRIER_CODE AS XPLN LEFT 6,
    EXTRACT (XA.MED_LINK@INPAT_OUTPAT_IND,1) AS XAIP LEFT 1,
    EXTRACT (XB.INPAT_OUTPAT_IND,1) AS XBIP LEFT 1

    ———-
    FROM AG_STN_ROOM_BED+ XA,
    AG_MEDICAL XB,
    BADM_WRKLST_PLAN_CODE_LIST XC
    ———-
    WHERE XSTN ”
    AND XFAC = ‘A’
    AND XA.INTN = XB.INTN
    AND XA.AN XB.AN
    AND XPLN = XC.PLAN_CODE
    AND XPLN IN (‘100100′,’100103′,’100260’)
    ———-
    ORDER BY XSTN,XRAB
    –BREAK AT XSTN
    –PAGE
    INITIAL
    SET :XPPP = 0
    ———-
    HEADER
    WRITE TODAY,
    ‘CASE MANAGEMENT MEDICARE ONLY WORKLIST FOR ‘ |
    CASE WHEN XFAC = ‘A’ THEN ‘Facility A – Station ‘ ELSE ‘Facility B’ END |
    XSTN COLUMN 35,
    ‘Page: ‘ | PAGE_NUMBER COLUMN 114

    WRITE NOW,
    ‘By Nursing Station, Room & Bed’ COLUMN 41,
    ‘Rept: ‘ | ‘QBCMwrklstO’ COLUMN 114
    WRITE ‘ ‘
    WRITE ‘Room-Bd’,
    ‘Patient Name’ COLUMN 10,
    ‘Birth Date’ COLUMN 34,
    ‘Age’ COLUMN 47,
    ‘PlanCd’ COLUMN 53,
    ‘Plan Name’ LEFT 33 COLUMN 61,
    ‘O A D A S STOP ‘ COLUMN 90
    WRITE ‘Nsg Stn’,
    ‘Account Nbr’ COLUMN 10,
    ‘Admit Date’ COLUMN 34,
    ‘Typ’ COLUMN 47,
    ‘Payor Phone’ LEFT 25 COLUMN 61,
    ‘O N R H P LOSS ‘ COLUMN 90
    WRITE ‘MedRec#’,
    ‘Attending Phys’ COLUMN 10,
    ‘Auth Date’ COLUMN 34,
    ‘LOS’ COLUMN 47,
    ‘AuthLOS’ COLUMN 53,
    ‘Auth Nbr’ LEFT 15 COLUMN 61,
    ‘N O G C P MET 48H 31D ‘ COLUMN 90
    WRITE ‘Working Diag’ COLUMN 10,
    ‘Policy Nbr’ LEFT 20 COLUMN 61
    WRITE ‘———=———=———=———=—-‘ |
    ‘—–=———=———=———=——–‘ |
    ‘-=———=———=———=———=–‘
    ———-
    BREAK AT XRAB
    SET :X48H = ‘ ….’, :X31D = ‘ ….’
    IF :XPPP = 7
    SET :XPPP = 0
    WRITE NULL PAGE
    ENDIF
    SET :XPPP = :XPPP + 1
    ———-
    DETAIL
    IF XAIP | XBIP = ‘II’
    AND XB.DSCHRG_DT_TM IS NOT NULL
    AND XPLN IN (‘100100′,’100103′,’100260’)
    AND (XA.MED_LINK@ADM_DT – XB.DSCHRG_DT) < 3
    SET :X48H = XB.FAC |'-'| XB.PAT_TYPE
    ELSEIF XAIP | XBIP = 'II'
    AND XB.DSCHRG_DT_TM IS NOT NULL
    AND (XA.MED_LINK@ADM_DT – XB.DSCHRG_DT) < 32
    SET :X31D = XB.FAC |'-'| XB.PAT_TYPE
    ENDIF

    ———-
    BREAK AFTER XRAB
    WRITE XRAB LEFT 7,
    CASE WHEN XA.PAT_ACCT_NBR IS NULL
    THEN ' EMPTY BED'
    ELSE XA.PAT_NAME END LEFT 25 COLUMN 10,
    XA.DEMOG_LINK@BIRTHDATE FORMAT 'MM/DD/YYYY' COLUMN 34,
    CASE WHEN (XA.MED_LINK@ADM_DT – XA.DEMOG_LINK@BIRTHDATE) = 0
    THEN ' '
    ELSE (XA.MED_LINK@ADM_DT – XA.DEMOG_LINK@BIRTHDATE) \ 365.25
    END RIGHT 3 COLUMN 47,
    CASE WHEN XPLN IS NULL
    THEN '0'
    ELSE XPLN END LEFT 6 COLUMN 53,
    CASE WHEN XA.PAT_ACCT_NBR IS NULL OR ''
    THEN ' '
    ELSE XC.PLAN_NAME END LEFT 20 COLUMN 61,
    CASE WHEN XC.PAY_TYPE = '2'
    THEN 'X ' ELSE '..' END LEFT 2 COLUMN 90,
    CASE WHEN XC.PAY_TYPE = '4'
    THEN 'X ' ELSE '..' END LEFT 2,
    CASE WHEN XC.PAY_TYPE = '3'
    THEN 'X ' ELSE '..' END LEFT 2,
    CASE WHEN XC.PAY_TYPE = '5'
    THEN 'X ' ELSE '..' END LEFT 2,
    CASE WHEN XA.PAT_ACCT_NBR IS NULL
    THEN '..'
    WHEN XC.PAY_TYPE = '1'
    THEN 'X ' ELSE '..' END LEFT 2,

    CASE WHEN XC.STOP_LOSS ‘z’
    AND XA.MED_LINK@CO_CHG_TOT_LINK@TOT_CHG * 1 > 29999
    THEN XC.STOP_LOSS ELSE ‘….’ END RIGHT 4,
    :X48H RIGHT 5,
    :X31D RIGHT 6

    WRITE XSTN,
    XA.PAT_ACCT_NBR COLUMN 10,
    TO_DATE (XA.MED_LINK@ADM_DT,’MM/DD/YYYY’) COLUMN 34,
    XA.PAT_TYPE RIGHT 3 COLUMN 47,
    XA.MED_LINK@INS_COB_1_LINK@CARRIER_PHONE_NBR LEFT 25 COLUMN 61
    WRITE SUBSTRING (XA.MED_LINK@UNIT_NBR,5) LEFT 7,
    XA.MED_LINK@ATTEND_PHY_NM LEFT 25 COLUMN 10,
    CASE WHEN XA.PAT_ACCT_NBR IS NULL
    THEN ‘ ‘
    ELSE XA.MED_LINK@LGTH_OF_STAY END RIGHT 3 COLUMN 47,
    XA.MED_LINK@INS_COB_1_LINK@APPROVED_LOS RIGHT 3 COLUMN 53,
    XA.MED_LINK@INS_COB_1_LINK@APPROVAL_NBR LEFT 15 COLUMN 61
    WRITE XA.MED_LINK@WK_DIAG LEFT 40 COLUMN 10,
    XA.MED_LINK@INS_COB_1_LINK@POLICY_NBR LEFT 20 COLUMN 61
    WRITE ‘ ‘
    ———-
    FOOTER
    SKIP
    WRITE ‘———=———=———-=———=—-‘ |
    ‘—–=———=———=———=——–‘ |
    ‘-=———=———=———=———=–‘
    WRITE ‘OON – OUT OF NETWORK’,
    ‘AHC – AHCCCS/MEDICAID’ COLUMN 35,
    ’48H – 48HR MEDICARE IP READMIT’ COLUMN 70
    WRITE ‘ANO – AHCCCS NOTIFIED’,
    ‘SPP – SELF PAY PLAN’ COLUMN 35,
    ’31D – 31 DAY IP READMIT’ COLUMN 70
    WRITE ‘DRG – DRG’,
    ‘STOP LOSS – STOP LOSS AMT MET’ COLUMN 35
    ———-
    FINAL
    SKIP 1
    WRITE ‘***** END OF REPORT *****’ COLUMN 10 WRITE ‘ ‘
    WRITE ‘ROUTINE NAME: ‘|’QB_CM_WORKLIST_NSG_STN_Facility A’

    –END–

  22. Hexdecimal said on March 4, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    In my post above, you will find everything that there that goes into writing anything. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. There is a plot, and a informative purpose, just as any good story would have. The grammar, spelling, and punctuation are all correct, although some abbreviations are used simply because of white space issues.

    So, as my previous post said, there is writing, and then there is writing. In my case, I write in a language I can not speak. I can read it and I can write it, but I cannot discuss it with anyone phonetically.

    Alas, we writers do have something in common. A NS reporter told me once that all his work, good or bad, ended up in the bottom of a birdcage being shat upon. The result of my writing ends each day in a shredder.

  23. paddyo' said on March 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Brian S., you just need to effort more at improving your verbing. Perhaps if you officed with one of those “shorthand gibberish people” it could green-light your way to better texting. Have you bandwidthed that idea yet? Probably you could turn-key it in no time. Whatever the case, maybe when you’re done you can interface with us and status us on the results.

  24. LAMary said on March 4, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    I’m shocked:

    http://cbs13.com/local/ashburn.arrest.dui.2.1534505.html

  25. joodyb`` said on March 4, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    between learning of otis’ literary shortcomings and the alleged misadventures of Calif. Sen. Roy Ashburn, I am having trouble settling into my workday.

    brian, my paper’s daily Bulletin Board, a truly charming over-the-fence forum, features a Verbing of America category that has produced some doozies. (ours, which is the original and where he plied his initial wares, still puts Little Jimmy’s to shame, btw.)

  26. Dexter said on March 4, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    My dad, my brother and I all were spelling champs of our grades in school, and so I became convinced very early-on that spelling skills are genetic at first, at least. I had a few problems later on as I worked with horrible spellers and it sort of affected me. I started spelling “helmut” for a while because someone else spelled it that way. I also adopted the New Yorker’s double-l rule, as in “travelling” which always gets tagged as wrong.
    While I make mistakes, I don’t make as many as most do.
    However, I know that most employers give passes to bad spellers. I worked under an executive who suffered during presentations while using the white eraser board. He was the worst ever.
    My high school friend went to Purdue and moved around the world with Chrysler, running west coast proving grounds as well as being part of the transition team when the merger with Daimler-Benz went through…he was on the “Stuttgart Shuffle” constantly. He was a bigshot, and he could barely spell C-A-R.
    I don’t mind “verbing”. I like to read where someone “aces” a test.

  27. joodyb said on March 4, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    i don’t mind the verbing, either, for the record. words certainly are created in worse ways.

  28. nancy said on March 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Depends on how it’s verbed. Or nouned. I used to hate the way “reveal” became a noun, a little bit of jargon from reality TV creeping into the lexicon. Then I was writing a press release for a client the other day, and it was the only word that worked. “Revelation” sounded too spiritual, “debut” called to mind a girl in a white dress, “unveiling” meh. When a car rolls through an LED wall onto a turntable with strobes flashing, smoke boiling along the stage, techno music booming, an audience going ooooh — that, folks, is a reveal.

  29. joodyb said on March 4, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    that particular coining is très populaire in our household!

  30. brian stouder said on March 4, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    “that, folks, is a reveal.”

    Meh.

    I’d go more Hollywood, and call it a “Premier”… or an introduction.

    Because indeed, as the Blogmistress says, “Reveal” just makes me think of reality TV; a ‘reveal’ including a new sunken hot tub and fresh woodwork, so that your house can look like a scene from an ‘erectile dysfunction’ commercial. (by the way, one of the worst new habits I have, with our dvr, is freezing selected commercials, and watching them frame-by-frame. It’s easy enough to catch a few of the subliminal messages in regular speed, but it is amazing – downright revealing! – how much else is going on, not just in Cialis commericals, but for example in ‘real housewives of wherever-the-hell’; but we digress)

  31. Kirk said on March 4, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    “Reveal” is a verb. If its so-called verb usage came from “reality” TV, ’nuff said.

  32. Denice B said on March 5, 2010 at 12:12 am

    “Reverend” David Murray. Isn’t he the school board genius who was accused of child abuse by not letting his kids eat without his permission,or something like that? The Detroit School Board never cared about kids, just about status and power. Since I live in this city, all I could do about the voters inability to make good decisions when it comes to managing schools was to never let my kid set foot in one. She has gone to private schools and charter schools outside of the city. I never regretted one minute doing that for my girl.

  33. Denice B said on March 5, 2010 at 12:15 am

    PS: I attended Detroit Public Schools K-12. I had an excellent education too. 1965-1974. I wish it was still that good.