I can't decide if I support this. Here is a pair of guys that are on a nationwide quest
to repair or see to the repair of incorrect signage wherever they find it, and they are keeping a blog
to record their accomplishments. As expected, when confronted most people with sign failure are apathetic, indignant, or even hostile toward their
generous benefactors of correctness.
To be more accurate, they should probably be called the
Spelling and Grammar Advancement League, but that does have the same
ring to it, nor the catchy acronym (you try pronouncing SGAL).
I'm sympathetic to their cause. I wince every time I see someone
when he means you're
. I die a tiny bit inside when someone doesn't recognize the difference between the homophones there, their,
. In the face of apathetic bemoaning to dismiss these mistakes, I have to argue the need to preserve the language. The more words and phrases
are misused, the less intelligible, understandable, and useful the language becomes.
A Chicago Tribune article
described their goals more poetically:
Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson have not wasted their lives.
They fight a losing battle, an unyielding tide of misplaced apostrophes
and poor spelling. But still, they fight. Why, you ask. Because, they
say. Because, they must.
For the last three months, they have circled the nation in search of
awkward grammar construction. They have ferreted out bad subject-verb
agreements, and they have faced stone-faced opposition everywhere. They
have shone a light on typos in public places, and they have traveled by
a GPS-guided '97 Nissan Sentra, sleeping on the couches of college
friends and sticking around just long enough to do right by the English
language. Then it's on the road again, off to a new town with new typos.
Picture a pair of Kerouacs armed with Sharpies and erasers and
righteous indignation--holding back a flood of mixed metaphors and
spelling mistakes and extraneous punctuation so commonplace we rarely
notice it anymore. But they are 28 and idealistic.
Their quest has been moving forward, if slowly, for a year now. They have received national publicity through morning show interviews, and have even been approached for a book deal.
Recently though, these guys have gotten themselves into a heap of trouble with the lawman. They have been accused of defacing government property at the Grand Canyon to fix a misspelling. It wouldn't have been such a big deal, except for the sign in question was a hand-painted p
lacard that dated way back into the 50s. The 1950s. In this country, anything sixty years-old is history.
I can certainly relate. The last house I lived in was over 60 years old. By extension, that makes it a historic Dallas landmark. I remember drilling some holes in the drywall. I hope there isn't a warrant out for my arrest on vandalism
Shown to the right is the sign that is at the center of the commotion, in all of its special,
historic glory. I see blackboard signs just like this at most pubs, filled with the list of daily drink specials. I think the park made a big deal out of this for the publicity.
After the legal battle, it looks like these guys have abandoned their cause and they went running with their tails tucked between their legs. It's disappointing, really. The book deal must have been shot, and their fifteen minutes were over.The usual disclaimer: I misuse words continuously. I make up words as I see fit. I use sentence fragments at every opportunity. I'm a hypocrite of the highest order.