Friday, December 02, 2011

There's a First Time for Everything

After reading today's withering editorial in The Province, I was delighted to find that the tabloid "paper of record" in our fair town is now on the record as being adamantly opposed to...virginity.

I'm not kidding. In a piece chiding a local group of insufferably smug chaste young women bloggers, the editorialist really lets them have it (as it were).
While no one should judge them for their personal--what previously would have been private--choices, their advocacy of virginity until marriage is a dangerous, out-dated, anti-sex philosophy that most people have rejected.
The last thing that anyone needs, particularly young people, is anything that promotes shame or guilt about sexual desire. 
Having worked himself (it's got to be a guy, don't you think?) into a lather (as it were), the essayist continues:
The idea that only sex within marriage is healthy is absurd.
As we've seen before, the word only can change the meaning of a sentence depending on where it's placed. As it stands here, the sentence could be taken to mean that what is absurd is the idea of sex being the only thing in a marriage that is healthy. But if you moved only to come after sex (as it were) it would still be open to ambiguity. It could sound like we're talking about a "sex-only" marriage, and that truly would be absurd. The only solution is to recast the sentence to something, you know what? Fuck it. (As it were.)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Atlantic Announces its Own Passing

Time for more dangling modifier unintentional humor. Today, the (formerly) venerable Atlantic slips on an old syntactical banana peel with this Table of Contents blooper in their online edition:
Letters from Stalin’s Daughter: 
Before dying Monday at 85,
 The Atlantic reviewed her 1967 memoir, "wrung from an agonized conscience"
But of course as regrettably moribund as the (formerly) venerable Atlantic may have been (and is), it did not die last Monday. If it had, we would not be reading this amusingly amateurish subheading.