Thursday, January 03, 2008

First snarky comments of the New Year

While I haven’t made any official resolutions this year, blogging-wise I would like to try to a) not feed the comment trolls, b) bring more snark, and c) do more rum and coke blogging when covering Liberal setbacks. Since the latter isn’t advisable during the work day, I’ll start with the snark.

*NDP applies new internal checks to guard against blunders: I’ll let readers come-up with their own punch line here; I’m refraining in solidarity with the striking tv writers. You don’t need to be a professional here though; I think the joke would write itself. But seriously, it’s interesting to see Jack Layton is still the leader of the NDP. You’ll have to forgive me for being confused, because when these two apologies were being made he was nowhere to be seen. And, knowing how much Jack loves a camera, that’s so small feet.

“But guess what? The NDP is human. We make mistakes that some people will judge as errors – and we acknowledge were problems – and we'll apologize when that happens.”
To err is human, and to forgive when required to by a legal settlement after being taken to court is divine…and by we, he of course means dear god, anybody but me... But that raises the question though, just who in the NDP was actually responsible for the Oliver smear? And is one of these ‘internal checks’ going to be showing them the door?

On a more positive note, let me say kudos to Jack for apparently going an entire interview without taking a gratuitous shot at the Liberals. Is this a New Year’s resolution, an oversight, or an editorial decision by the Globe editors? Time will tell.

*Ottawa hands $150m tax break to EnCana: Hey, if the average family is going to save $150/year on the GST cut, isn’t it only fair to give $150m to an oil and gas company?
A one percentage point cut in the Goods and Services Tax that kicked in at midnight will be one of the few new tax cuts Canadians should expect to see in 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday.
Unless you're an oil and gas producer, that is. After all, these are tough times in that industry…
Oilsands and natural gas company EnCana Corp. on Thursday pumped its dividend as the company recorded the biggest annual profit in Canadian corporate history.

For 2006, EnCana made $5.65 billion US, or roughly $6.41 billion Cdn, based on last year's average Canada-U.S. exchange rate, a new Canadian record. EnCana's 2006 profit topped the previous record of $5.46 billion posted by BCE Inc. back in 1999.
Must be nice to have friends in high places, no?

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Unknown said...

Can I add one more 'non-resolution', please?

How about: d) proofread more.

Normally your writing is good, but the last couple of posts have been rife with uncorrected typos and leftovers from wording changes. Some examples:

From Jan 2:
"Look back to a year ago though, and fast-forward today" - missing 'to' before 'today'

"That's for smarter minds then I" - 'then' should be 'than'. (I would also prefer 'mine' instead of 'I', which implies that you are only a mind, but that's a style thing and I wouldn't have brought it up if it was by itself.)

"The NDP is taking big today" - obvious

"the polling numbers don’t bare it out" - you mean 'bear' it out, right?

"Loses there would offset gains elsewhere." - 'Losses'

From Jan 3:
"bloggign-wise" - obvious

"that's so small feat" - obvious

"when required to be a legal settlement" - 'be' should be 'by'; this one almost made the sentence unintelligible

"just whom in the NDP was" - friends don't let friends use 'whom'. It's archaic at best and sounds pretentious ... and besides, you used it incorrectly; it should have been 'who'. And even if it had been 'who', it would have read...

"just who in the NDP was actually responsibility for the Oliver smear" - Did you mean 'was responsible' or 'has responsibility'?

These are only the errors that are obvious - the ones that cause the reader to have to stop and become aware of the writing (distracting from the actual content, which, presumably, is what you would rather they pay attention to).

I can tell that you're a good enough writer that, if you had caught these things, you'd have fixed them. That's why I didn't say "d) learn to write" to start with. You obviously can write; you just haven't been proofreading well lately, and it shows.

Errors like these can reduce your credibility in the eyes of your readers - not (so much) the ones who agree with your point of view but the ones who oppose you or (more importantly, IMO) the 'undecideds'.

I like what you have to say - I generally like the way you say it. I'm not trying to be a comment troll here; I genuinely am trying to provide constructive comments that can help your blog.

Simply reading each entry out loud to yourself (or even under your breath) before you post it will let you catch 99% of errors like these.

Wilson Fowlie
A Torontonian (sort of) in BC.

900ft Jesus said...

Layton did give a bit of a jab (if the comment was from the interview you mention) -

“I'm picking up Christmas conversation, holiday conversation, a lot of people [are] unhappy with where Harper's going and want to have the chance to change it,” the NDP Leader said. “So they hopefully will have that chance fairly soon. It depends on when the Liberals stop propping up the Conservatives.”

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Speakin' o' snark... I had a laff the other day when I seen somebody referrin' to Happy Jack as the "Stockwell Day of the Left."

Note to Wilson: My grammatical and spelling errors are intentional. Don't start in on yer schoolmarm routine with me. ;-)


Saskboy said...

Classic! A post mentioning comment trolls opens with a critique of your spelling. I almost died lol'ing (into my mouth).

Loraine Lamontagne said...

What really got me when I read the G&M's article is that Jack or the Globe never mention that the NDP did not make public the conclusion from Elections Canada that Oliver had done nothing wrong. They got that letter a few days before the vote. I mean, you could truly have believed that Oliver had done something wrong, but once cleared, to withold the information is an entirely different gesture. I believe, truly, that the police should look into this and that someone should be jailed for this.

Unknown said...


Well said. Your 'errors' would have been more convincing as errors if you'd (for instance) left out the apostrophes.

As it is, it reads as deliberately incorrect, to the degree that you didn't have to say so. But hey, based on my earlier remarks, all you knew about me was my stickler side, so who can blame you for thinking that's all there is?

I particularly like the 'schoolmarm' remark. Shows erudition and, if you'll excuse the coinage, 'well-readedness'. :)

I didn't target deliberate errors in Jeff's post (I don't recall him using that device, but that doesn't mean he didn't; if he had, I like to think I'd have left it alone), nor did I target small errors - and they exist - that didn't interfere greatly with the flow of Jeff's thoughts.

Admittedly, a few things I mentioned, most people would probably just glide right over without noticing, like "bare it out" (though that ends up having a sniggering adolescent feel to it) or [shudder] "smarter minds then I". Perhaps I should have left them out.

But can you really tell me that when you read "that's so small feat" or "when required to be a legal settlement" that you didn't have to go back, even if just for a moment, and reread the passage to work out what he meant?

Or that when your eye passed over "bloggign-wise", your mind didn't - just for an instant - think, "Oops" before getting back to what Jeff was actually saying?

Do you think Jeff really wanted you to do any of that, or would he rather you simply absorbed the flow and intent of his words, uninterrupted by thoughts, however fleeting, about the writing itself?

You're entitled to your opinion, but so am I. And my opinion is that a comment troll would simply have written something like

While I was aware that my comments may well provoke an emotional response, that was not my primary intention.

My hope was that Jeff's 'response' would be to take an extra 30-60 seconds (!) before posting his next entry (and maybe even the one after that!) to clear his writing of distractions.

I like what Jeff writes. I like it enough to care that it be even better.

Jeff said...

Wilson, fair point. Sometimes I try to knock something off quick while at work, but I really should take a little longer to proofread.

900ft, grading on a curve that's a fairly minor jab by Laytonian standards. Perhaps I glossed over it because these little jabs have become akin to white noise, I don't know...

Jimbobby, it's when you write in plain and proper English that I find you hard to follow. :)

Saskboy, I understand your amusement but, while wilson was certainly very through, as his underlying point was valid in the new year spirit I'll chose to believe his intentions were noble.

Loraine, the NDP really did get away with one here, both legally and in the media/pr context. I think it was overshadowed by the James Moore porno thing, and got lumped into a 'hapless Dippers' narrative. I don't think there was any criminality and the civil matter is settled, so that's probably it legally, and in the court of public opinion. I guess all we can hope for is the NDP keeps making bad decisions, and that they backfire sooner next time.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I been known to be a little schoolmarmish, myself. My pet peeve is the "then" "than" confusion I see so often. As well, the all lowercase thing was edgy back in 1999. Now, I just find it confusing. And then there's the comma usage...

Oops... better not get started on this slippery slope.


Saskboy said...

I was just having some fun at Wilson's expense. Sorry if you thought I was overly harsh with my joking accusation.

However, consider that most of this discussion focuses now on spelling instead of the issues, and both Wilson has a point, as do I ;-)