Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Foregone Conclusions

The local Tri-City News weekly paper features a regular editorial showdown where a foaming-at-the-mouth right wing columnist faces off against a woolly-headed liberal rival on a news topic of recent interest. Every time I read it I'm reminded of the Dan Ackroyd/Jane Curtin "Point-Counterpoint" segments ("Jane, you ignorant slut...") from the early "Saturday Night Live" days.

In any case, there was no newsprint battle of the predictable viewpoints last week. The point-counterpoint space in that issue (which I am just catching up on now) bears this introductory editor's note:

Following a tradition started several years ago, columnists Terry O"Neill and Mary Woo Sims are foregoing their usual format for this, their final column before Christmas, to write a combined column on things they agree on.

A debateless debate? Boring. Besides that, however, we have a word choice mix-up here. "Foregoing" means preceding ("the foregoing performance by the lobotomized Ben Affleck gave me gas"). The word needed here is forgoing, which means to do without ("for the sake of my intestinal health, I will be forgoing any future performances by the execrable Ben Affleck"). Choosing the right one is easy when you recall that foregoing refers to things that have gone before.