Lawsuit-free since 9/14/05

Sunday, December 12, 2004

We Get Letters! We Get Lots and Lots of Letters!

To all our kind readers—
We recently received a letter (via e-mail at takebackourcampus@yahoo.com) that was simply too humorous not to print. The epistle was from the wonderfully named J.J. Hearty, a boy with some strong opinions whose rather Dickensian surname attests to his large amount of cardiac rather than cranial muscle.
Dear waste of space on the internet,
Exactly why are you trying to take back this campus? It does not belong to you. This college has long stood as a pillar/beacon of education success for rich kids. If you want to leave so bad i will have my father write you a check to where ever you want to go. Why dont you stop wasting your time on your stupid internet sight and go get a job. I voted for bush in 04, i will remain conservative for the rest of my life, and am proud to say that those people that say money is the root of all evil don't have any. I am appalled that i am not on your internet site.
J.J. Hearty
It never ceases to astonish me that the favored sons of America cannot speak or write a recognizable and correct form of English. “Education” is easily conjugated into its adjectival form with the simple addition of “al.” Similarly, “bad” can be made into a correct adverb if it is accompanied by “ly.” Hearty’s sporadic capitalization and lack of apostrophes and hyphenation will go unmentioned, except in my previous clause. I will recommend that he add a question mark to his interrogative sentences, such as “Why dont (sic) you stop wasting your time on your stupid internet (sic) sight (sic) and go get a job. (sic)”

As a grammarian, I disagree with Hearty’s statement “those people that say money is the root of all evil don’t have any.” Hearty’s sentence clearly implies (as the pronoun “any” refers to his noun “evil”) that “those people that (sic) say money is the root of all evil” don’t “have” any “evil.” The exact metaphysics of the sentence (that any person could “have” “evil”) make my head spin. Can a person “have” “evil”? As a diligent student (though not adherent) of the (sometimes conflicting) works of Kant and Hegel, I still have trouble making any construction of a human “hav[ing]” “evil.” For a better discussion than I can provide, I recommend Peter Singer’s latest book, The President of Good and Evil, the introduction to which goes into detail about President Bush’s use of “evil” as a noun rather than an adjective.

However, even sans the language needed to construct a coherent sentence, I still understand the intended meaning of Hearty’s sentence. If my interpretation is correct, I must inform him that even people without money are still people. He should employ the nominative “who” rather than the objective “that.” Hearty, with the predictable callousness of his class, probably disagrees with me.

But my favorite part of the letter was the "pillar/beacon of education (sic) success" conundrum. Hearty, with his hearty amounts of privilege and (almost certainly) private schooling, could not choose which awful cliche he wanted to use. Ignoring redundancy, he decided to use them both.

J.J. Hearty, be "appalled" no more. Both your missive and your hatred of the lower classes have found their way into the hallowed letters of Take Back Our Campus. Please write again soon.


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