The president gave a few remarks about race last Friday. They were excellent, in my opinion, but perhaps you feel otherwise. Discuss if you want, but I’m more interested in picking grammar nits.
This nit in particular:
Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it — if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.
I see this all the time. I think whoever transcribed the president’s extemporaneous (yep, no Teleprompter!) remarks should have written “defuse.” You defuse a bomb, which is what an altercation is. Diffuse, as a verb, means to spread over a wide area. No one gets this, and yes, people, it drives me crazy.
Everyone must have their own areas of expertise, where mistakes made by others rankle more. After the Newtown massacre, I was struck by how many gun nuts fixated on minor errors regarding gun technology in others’ comments: Anyone who doesn’t know the difference between an automatic and semi-automatic is not someone we need to listen to. Just the other day, I saw a reference to “a male horse” in news copy, and thought congratulations, you know what a dick looks like. We’ll handle the tricky stallion vs. gelding question tomorrow.
I want to be more aware of these things. And I want the world to learn the difference between defuse and diffuse.
So, did everyone have a good weekend? I feel like mine was all full of Win, as we somehow managed to not lose power after a series of rip-roaring storms blew through Friday night. I made a pound cake and a cucumber salad. Ate ribs. Enjoyed a good time on a patio with citronella candles. Did a little work. The older I get, the more fun I have with stuff like this. I can’t believe there are people who would rather go to P. Diddy’s white party in the Hamptons than a decent backyard barbecue in the rest of the world. But that’s me.
Bloggage? Sure. Bob Garfield winds up and lets ABC have it, for hiring Jenny McCarthy to co-host “The View.”
Alan says he sees these trucks rolling around town, moving giant aluminum ingots here and there. The NYT explains how Goldman Sachs is gaming regulations to manipulate the market in its favor.
Finally, I knew this guy, via friends. He was a husband and father, warm, funny and smart, as well as fat and diabetic. In recent years, he had a health scare, and cleaned up his act — dropped 40 pounds, got his diabetes under control, started going to the gym daily. In this country, at this moment in time, such an accomplishment isn’t truly real until you’ve cemented it with a public display — a road race or other athletic contest. (Newspapers have these stories on a user key, I’m convinced; they’re positive and inspirational. There was one in the Freep just last week.) So, he entered one of those trendy mud obstacle courses, finished, went to the medical tent, collapsed and died.
This is not to blame Rick for what happened to him, or the race for being the venue. It’s just to say that maybe improving one’s own health, losing weight and one’s bad habits, is reward enough. Maybe that’s the lesson here. Two girls lost their father, a wife lost her husband, and no participant’s ribbon will bring him back.
Be careful out there. And have a good week.