(I was intending to write a letter to our fine teeny tiny little local paper this week about my fervent desire to perform hara-kiri at the groundbreaking for the new Target in
Lloyd – the town next to mine -, but unfortunately this is a more pressing matter. And
apparently no Lloydians read the New Paltz Times or care about the hell they are
going to make our area, so my ritual suicide would be of no use for them. I will save it for a better cause perhaps. I’m thinking apostrophes.)
Fellow New Paltz-area citizens! Can we have a talk? Simply put: your atrocious grammar and ridiculous typos are driving me completely insane. I refuse to believe that our gorgeous little town is less than two hours from arguably the most erudite city in the entire world, yet an ad appeared this week in which the name of the political office being promoted was spelled wrong! I am (proudly) voting for James Pavelock for Superintendent of Highways, not Superintenant. Similarly, it was with rising shock that I read Joe Katz’s letter in which not only did he fail to mention the office he was seeking, described the heartwarming “reception that I have experiences,” [sic] but actually encouraged us to vote on the wrong day. New Paltz village mayor Terry Dungan then closed his letter complaining that his words had been taken out of context in an article in last week’s paper with the line, “It is amazing how the appearance of a person’s opinion can be reshaped by through clever editing.” [sic]. Amazing indeed.
Even as a flaming liberal who has different beliefs than most Republicans I do not think it is Republican ignorance or innate stupidity that led to sentences like
“In return, we have been determined to run a campaign that you would be proud of supporting” in the two-page ad extravaganza for “Team Gardiner” (pgs 22 and 23). I really believe that even Republicans can do better, really I do! Though Butch Dener’s truly bizarre nineteenth-century way of Capitalizing whatever Words he personally Deems important makes me scratch my head a Bit.
I am aware that the fine editorial staff of the NPT might, unfortunately, be the culprit of some of these typos. Horror stories about friends’ butchered letters to the editor back me up on this point. As well, a few weeks ago an article about Margaret Human changed her quote about global warming from “we must reduce our carbon footprint” to “we must reduce our human footprint.” Quite a different matter! A carefully-edited correction, complete with a definition of “carbon footprint” (“A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.”) was promptly sent off but never appeared in the paper – thus further cementing my belief that the NPT staff privately enjoys typos, misquotes and wretched sentence structure so much that they purposely inject them into articles and letters.
I am not a professional writer and I went to a mediocre college that was not known in any way for its English department, so it’s not Ivy League snobbery talking here – just a plea to my neighbors that my weekly newspaper reading not make me want to repeatedly thrust ice picks through my eyeballs to relieve the unbearable pain their syntax is causing. My suggestion for next year’s selection for One Book, One New Paltz? “The Elements of Style.”