It’s well-known that no one can speak or use the English language correctly no more, and I should stop fussin’ about it. I’ve had many teachers in my journey from illiterate neophyte to somewhat competent writer-person, one of them our own Kirk Arnott, who had a way of condemning sloppy usage at the Columbus Dispatch, where we worked together for a time, that struck terror in my soul. There was something about the way he could mutter from the desk all the way to the coffeepot and back that made me want to never, ever be the cause of that muttering.
One of his biggies was the misuse of the legal term garnish, which is what happens when your wages are seized. An order of garnishment is made by a court, and one day you open your paycheck to discover the IRS, or your ex-spouse, or minor children, or some other party has already lopped off a chunk. Kirk insisted that we write “his wages were garnisheed,” pronounced gar-ni-SHAYed, and muttered if anyone wrote “garnished,” because that is what you do with parsley.
times and language changes times change and language changes, and now “garnished” is pretty widely accepted, and even my online dictionary says it’s OK. Nevertheless, when I read a sentence like this…
Carey Torrice’s $622-a-week commission salary is being garnished by an insurance company that claims the couple have failed to make court-ordered restitution payments.
…I cringe. Especially when I’ve already cringed over this:
…a private investigator and actress who gained national attention two years ago for posting scantily clad photos of herself online.
The photos are not scantily clad, although “nude photos” is pretty much how we describe photos depicting nudity, so I guess that’s OK, too. And “photos of herself, scantily clad” sounds strange. Actually, “scantily clad” is one of those stupid cliché phrases you only read in newspapers, anyway. It’s one case where I’d actually advocate for more words, if it paints a more vivid picture in the reader’s mind. In the case of Torrice, I’d write:
Photos of herself in several ridiculous, “sexy” outfits reveal her toned physique and obvious breast implants, including one suggesting a policewoman, if the policewoman were the co-star in a porn film.
Actually, the story is pretty amusing, cringeworthy usage and all, and people will read the shit out of it, if only for the headline:
Did sexy politician, husband stalk her election rival?
Although I take issue with the lead:
It has all of the makings of an old-fashioned mystery — a sexy private investigator, a handgun and a bizarre car accident.
I’m sorry, but try again. An old-fashioned mystery, by my lights, features Sherlock Holmes, a drawing room, or Colonel Mustard in the ballroom with the lead pipe. A sexy private investigator, a handgun and a bizarre car accident belong in the dirty movie described above.
And ouch, dude:
According to a police report obtained by the Free Press, Sprys was driving home at 10:15 p.m. after a board meeting when an acquaintance of the Torrices, another private investigator, appeared to lunge himself into Sprys’ SUV, one witness said.
Lunge himself? Did the whole blue-pencil staff take the buyout? Launch himself, or just lunge into.
As for the story itself, besides being entertaining, my only comment is: Too Macomb County for words. Which is a very Grosse Pointe thing to say, but honestly, people, once you’ve put scantily clad photos of yourself on the internet, all bets are off. Check out the “fun stuff” section, here. Fun fact to know and tell: Besides being a Macomb County commissioner leading a campaign to end euthanasia in the county’s animal shelter, she’s also a foot model.
Someone told me once there’s a gay men’s group in Macomb County that calls itself “the 586s,” for the area code. The gay men in the 248, and even the 313, think this is hilarious.
Well, as you can probably guess, I’m already in my holiday-weekend head, although I’m working on the holiday and the day after. Today, however, I think I’m going to the pool. Any bloggage? Oh, we can probably scare some up:
Mel Gibson, radical Catholic and sinner.
Funniest thing I’ve read today was the Facebook status of one of our commenters, Velvet Goldmine: I’m working on a Bollywood-style TV show about a group of plucky kids trying to start a show choir in India. I call it: Ghee!
Want to watch a sports movie free of sports-movie clichés? Rent “The Damned United.” Great to play in the background at your World Cup parties, too.
Have a great holiday weekend. I’ll be back…at some point.