Eloquent but ungrammatical **

I find few things more depressing to read than articles about the decline of grammar, spelling and syntax. They do, however, offer an opportunity for mischief.

It takes a brave man to post a blog piece or comment bemoaning the state of language and, inevitably, some will fall short of the high standards they set themselves. It's a case of Eats, Shoots himself in the foot, and Leaves, looking rather silly. (That, by the way, before any pedants start getting a hard-on, was an example of the famous 'Oxford comma' . )

These thoughts were prompted by a link from DK , something of a pedant himself I think, to 'Belle de Jure' and her piece 'On the use of language'. Note: Some of her own commenters were not as assiduous as they might have been with their own grammar/syntax/spelling). Whoops! 

DK feels that 'spelling and grammar are essential to understanding', an interesting point of view but, of course, completely wrong (as the example below demonstrates very effectively).

When Lynne Truss wrote her famous little book the ink had hardly dried on the pages before articles appeared pointing out several glaring errors of her own she had managed to make.

Rod Liddle,  famously responded to Truss by writing an article containing no punctuation beyond full stops and capital letters: 
It really is time we sorted out the pedants. Maybe with white robes and burning crosses and paraffin. These constipated individuals seem to be multiplying throughout the country rather like weird demon alien creatures in a John Wyndham novel. Of course Britain has a noble history of persecuting minorities from the Jews in the 12th century right up to smokers and people who like eating food that this pedantic and nannying Government insist is bad for you.Well lets move the goalposts. Lets have a go at the pedants. Theyre boring and I suspect mentally unstable and possessed of a vindictiveness and spite and smugness which needs to be exposed on a national scale...

I dont think we should dress up in white robes and set Lynne on fire because in her spare time when shes not writing stupid bloody books about the apostrophe shes actually quite a good thing and a rather engaging person. The Anti Pedant League of course should not be pedantic about what it does to its victims. What we should do with Lynne instead is send her to a desert island with a cache of class A drugs and maybe someone like Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream for company. We can pick her up in a years time and see if she still thinks punctuation is the most pressing and interesting consideration for humankind in the early 21st century. And either shell be cured of her affliction or Bobby Gillespie will have topped himself and we will have to leave her where she is.
Of course, Rod Liddle thinks the answer to most things is a good fuck, but in this case he's got a point. 

Perhaps we should start a 'Fuck a Pedant' campaign.

Nearly forgot. ** That was a quote from the poet and critic, Theodore Watts-Dunton , about a character in a book he reviewed.  So, you see, it can be done.

A final point.

Over the last few years a Black, New York blogger called Steve Gilliard  gained the respect and appreciation of a large audience and some of the finest names in political blogging. He was passionate, eloquent, feisty, controversial and outspoken. He was also often right.

He died a few days ago, aged just 42, and was mourned far and wide by the political blogging 'community' in the US. On Wednesday his obituary appeared in the New York Times. Most of the bloggers whingeing on about the standard of writing, split infinitives and dangling participles could drop dead tomorrow and not even be missed.  

And my point? 

Steve Gilliard was a notoriously poor speller. But, as James Wolcott (no slouch in the eloquence department) said recently:
            'nobody made a more resonant sonic boom than Steve at his best, misspellings be damned.'