Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Pardon me while I mock someone's grammar

I'm not sure if this is a grammatical problem or a semantic one, but who really cares anyway? A post from yesterday about the President's totally unsurprising veto had this passage:
Today's Washington Post contains the headline, "April Toll is Highest of '07 for U.S. Troops". More than 100 Americans have been killed in the past month. This brings the death toll, the ultimate cost for this "War of Failed Leadership" closer to the 3500 mark then ever before.
Now here's the question: the death toll is closer to the 3500 mark "than ever before" (I'll skip over the spelling error and go for the jugular)--how could we have been closer to 3500 at some point before now? How does a death toll go back down after it goes up? I've studied quite a bit of history and followed the news most of my life, and I am quite confident that death tolls only go in one direction. I guess you could question the methodology by which the death toll is calculated (i.e. initial estimates overshot the mark), but I don't think that's it. Most likely, it was a poorly chosen cliche in a hastily written post, but it still messed with my head when I read it.

Also, how sad is it that I am turning to semantic (or grammatical) mockery to avoid thinking abouit what a complete clusterfuck this whole thing is?

1 comment:

SomeGoSoftly said...

That stuff drives me crazy...and should be pointed out. The problem is the 5th grade reading level of most readers wouldn't think twice about it. I'm also tired of hearing the war is the "most costliest".