U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: peeling the apple + "American Photography"

Re: peeling the apple + "American Photography"

On Wed, 9 Jan 2008, Ender100@aol.com wrote:

Hi Judy,

....  I guess I really
should take more time to go over what I write instead of just dashing off
something and hitting the send button.
Not necessarily, although your comments following suggest that you more or less miss my point... which is in fact NOT to be a pain in the ass. (And trust me, if that were my goal, you would have a new understanding of pain in the ass...)

My point is - let's say three points: One is self-protection, so that folks don't get so accustomed to the wrong way that the right way sounds wrong ("between you and I," for instance); another is, believe it or not, *clarity*... I actually puzzled over your sentence for quite some moments before I figured out that it was indeed you watching your grandfather, not the other way around (and some of us who never had a grandfather, with or without an apple, could envy that). Not to mention that you should be flattered that I take your every utterance so seriously as to take the trouble and (obviously) the personal risk of clarifying it.

Point 2.5 is: If you think I take every opportunity to note error, um -- the expression that comes to mind is "hoo boy!," ie., think again! There is hardly a circuit of the moon around the earth without misplaced homonyms, apostrophes, pronouns & so forth on the list. But these are like daisies in the field... Who cares? (And who always spells correctly without a dictionary or spellcheck?)

Tho I do recall the constant abuse of diction (some inflicted on my own pristine copy) especially homonyms, as "where" for "wear" or "ware"; "sew" for "sow,"etc, in a photo magazine (now defunct) whose editor boasted that he barely passed "English" in college (or maybe it was veterinary school -- OK, scratch that, I'm being bitchy: I have the utmost respect for veterinarians).

My point #3 is that there are still folks who do notice barbarisms, even simple error -- and many of them are in positions of influence, either having attained some power in the cultural field, or simply respect in their own circle. And although such error, ignorance, innocence, or merely haste is quite common today, I note, for what it's worth, that I have noticed none in that 1924 Annual, or for that matter in older photo magazines. Today -- what is the world coming to? -- even in the New York Times !

Which is to say, being so ordinary, these "mistakes" may count for zilch, but trust me, they do NOT increase respect for the writer-- and writers, especially photographers, need all the respect they/we can get.

(A propos of which I mention author Bill Jay, whose "Occam's Razor" strikes me as one of the most odious books in the photo canon. He writes, with evidently no fear of contradiction: "let's face it, photographers aren't the most intelligent people in the world," or words to that effect. Does that help us promote our vision?)

I spare you the explanation of the already overworked error I noted, suggesting only that if you have access to a book of English grammar, you check "dangling participle." The DP causes problems because, mentally, we attach a participle phrase without a verb to a subsequent verb, which distorts meaning. (OK?)

As for,

I will clarify for the list that it was not I who appointed you "Grammar
Policewoman" for the listb^@^TI believe you are self-appointed.
Sorry, wrong again: That is not a role I would wish for and certainly not claim... I'm also pretty sure you done it when I corrected "between you and I" or the equivalent a year or two ago. I doubt I kept the notice or honorarium, but if I come across it, I'll cite. (Though if someone has a search engine that looks for words, "grammar" or "grammar police" might find it in the archive.)

But, please note: Whether "appointee" or volunteer, I do the job out of the kindness of my heart and love of the language AND the list -- although, as we see, at some personal risk. Or to paraphrase the T-shirt "It's a dark and lonely job, but somebody's got to do it."

Meanwhile, I note the ambivalence of your comments following: Be my guest... and may you live to be as old as your grandfather, even older !

Yes, I   sat when *I* was a kid and watched my Grandfather peel apples—we
were both sitting.   He was peeling and I was watching.   Sometimes a cousin or
two would sit and watch with me.   Perhaps not with the same enthusiasm that
you watch my grammar, but still with quite a bit of enthusiasm.

My Grandfather was born just after the end of the Civil War.   He lived to be
97.   I also remember his father—I don't remember him peeling apples though.
I do remember him snatching at my ankles with his cane when I would run by
him.   My cousins and I played this game with him.   I wonder what made me
think of that?

The discussion of the pen knife made me think of him.   I thought I might
risk sharing a fragment of that memory.   Apparently my being
"grammar-challenged" was more interesting.
Your remark above is a non sequitur. What further comment was I expected to make about the pen knife ? And doesn't my clarification of the "memory" show respect and interest, rather than not?

I will clarify for the list that it was not I who appointed you "Grammar
Policewoman" for the list—I believe you are self-appointed.
....see above....

I'm assuming you are trying to be helpful, rather than just trying to be a pain in the ass... correct? I mean, I would probably know it if you were trying to be a pain in the ass.

Judy, I don't know what I would do without you. I have a feeling that no-one
else really gives a S**t about my grammar. So, your attention really does
comfort me. I will sleep easy tonight knowing that once you receive this bit
of prose you will ply your trade and save me from myself again. I hope your
policing doesn't keep you from doing your latest gum stain test—I know you do
them regularly, in secret, but are just shy about sharing the results.
I have done all the gum stain tests I intend to do, having, I dare say, proved my point(s) sufficiently to let the matter rest. (Check "black swans" on google.)

I have a 10,000 page manuscript here that you can take a peek at if you like.
Sure, Mark, send it along. Glad to help any way I can.

Regarding your question about the source of the apple.   Unfortunately
Grandpa did not have an apple orchard in the back yard, though he did have an
outhouse in the back yard—but that's a different kind of apple.   Fortunately, he
did had indoor plumbing.   So my guess is that the apples came from a relative
who did have an orchard, or from the local store.   They probably did not have
to truck them in from a 1,000 miles away—we do have apples in the Midwest.
Not a BIG APPLE, but nice apples just the same—and good manners.

Cheers, etc.

Best Wishes,
Mark Nelson

Precision Digital Negatives - The System
PDNPrint Forum at Yahoo Groups

In a message dated 1/9/08 12:12:51 AM, jseigel@panix.com writes:
I think it was you, Mark, who appointed me grammar police... So it would
be remiss of me not to point out that it wasn't your grandfather who used
to sit as a kid, but you as a kid who watched grandfather, etc.... or so I
surmise.  And what kind of apple, pray tell?  Off a tree in the back yard?
Surely at the very least a nice fresh orchard apple, not one cold storaged
& trucked 1000 miles.

Start the year off right.  Easy ways to stay in shape.