Sunday, June 10, 2012

Now There's an Episode of The Bachelorette I Would Watch

Mike Huckabee: "Madonna more likely to pick me than Mitt Romney"
What's this? The Huckster and the Mitt Man are fighting for the romantic favors of an aging pop tart? And Huckabee thinks he has the inside edge? That's the impression you could get from that HuffPo headline from earlier today.

Sadly, the real story is nowhere near as awkwardly surreal. Huckabee was asked about the chances of his being selected as Mitten's running mate and he responded, "I think there is a greater likelihood that I'll be asked by Madonna to go on tour as her bass player." A weird reference for him to make, perhaps, but not as disturbingly weird as the headline seems to promise.

This the kind of ambiguity that can arise when the word than mixes with people, and it can often be cleared up with the addition of a tiny verb. If that headline had an is at the end, there would have been much less opportunity for the reader to conjure an image of two middle-aged political blowhards doing a "the girl is mine" routine.

Or take, for instance, the sentence: "I love wine more than my wife." That could be taken to mean that I love wine more than my wife does. Or it could mean that I love wine more than I love my wife. In my case, the first interpretation is an unremarkable declaration of fact. The latter is just speculation on my wife's part.