Monday, January 31, 2011

The End of the "All You Can Byte" Buffet?

Folks in Canadian cyberland are all atwitter (get it?) about the new CRTC regulations that will allow internet providers to charge a premium to large-bandwith internet users. I know I'm supposed to have a strong opinion on this, but the fact is I can't decide whether to fall in with the "equality of access" egalitarians or the "you gets what you pay for" (or "you pays for what you gets") capitalists.

But I do know I have an opinion on this sentence from a CP story on the brouhaha:
An opposition MP will address the rising cost of accessing rich online data like live sportscasts and movies at a town hall meeting...
The problem here is the separation of town hall and politician. As it stands, the sentence seems to suggest that the topic under discussion is the accessing of sportscasts and movies at town hall meetings. "An opposition MP will address at a town hall meeting..." or, even better, "At a town hall meeting, an opposition MP will address..." would clear up the confusion.

It may not seem like a big deal in this example, but sometimes separations like this can result in unintentionally risible effects. Take, for example, this similar sentence from a U.S. news report:

The congressman stayed after the town meeting and discussed the high cost of living with several women.