go sok!

I've sort of buried the hatchet. There's at least one reasonable prescriptivist out there, and she blogs here: Red Pen, Inc. I feel like I've got an evil twin. It's a cute, snarkily written blogspot website with a home-made, annotated banner. But she consistently uses capitalization. (I have too, for the last few posts. More on that later.) We exchanged a nice series of emails regarding this post, but it's this one, about the Red Sox, that I want to take issue with.

Leave aside for the moment that she's a Yankees fan, though that explains some of her added grammar-nazi ire. Leave aside the fact that Scott has found that blogging about the Red Sox drastically increases your hit count, though that partly explains this post and completely explains this parenthetical (Big Pappi David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, 2007 World Series Champs).

For now, let's just consider how angry she is about this error:
Curt Schilling will remain a Red Sox.
She's really angry. Notice, I don't disagree that it's an error. If it were Derek Cheater, he would be remaining a Damn Yankee, not a Damn Yankees. But the correction that she suggests is, "Curt Schilling will remain a Red Sock," which strikes me as preposterous.

Now, the 'Sox' spelling is presumably a phonetic adaptation of the common noun 'socks.' 'X,' god knows why, makes the same sound as 'ks,' or, it's often spelled, 'cks.' But I don't think we should assume that we can subtract sounds the same way we subtract letters to go from plural to singular. Clearly, when the Sox instituted their invented spelling, they should have determined and publicized the preferred singular. They're not perfect, after all.

But I think we should embrace the haphazard, happy-go-lucky, Manny-being-Manny ethos of the Sox. Let's make Johnathan Papelbon a 'Red Sok.' Let's admit to our phonetic natures and do away with the stodgy, old English 'c.' I've only found one web site that uses this, but it looks fairly high-level, and it doesn't mention the use at all, it just does it, as though it had done it before. All the other first-page hits seem to use 'Red Sok' as the plural. Get out your Red Pen... even I don't understand that one.


natalia said...

Damn, I've only read a couple posts of hers, but there is no way I would call her reasonable. Her over-the-top angst about errors notwithstanding, there were three things that immediately pissed me off and made me unwilling to even consider her blog.

1) In the post about the Red Sox, she calls them "godforsaken". Now, I don't care how much she dislikes the Red Sox, but it's kind of incorrect (though perhaps semantically, and not grammatically) to call the winners of the last World Series "godforsaken". "Lucky bastards", perhaps. "For-no-good-reason-remembered-by-god", maybe. But certainly not "given-up-on-by-god". Bleh.

2) She complains about spammers. She is a self-proclaimed nerd, but she does not seem to comprehend the fact that spam emails are generated by machines, not people, who put together chunks of text that deliberately contain typos in order to fool anti-spam algorithms. The fact that she does not know this is mind-boggling to me. I'm referring to this post:
But it sounds like it's a favorite topic of hers, so I am sure there are more.

3) She uses the word "retarded" to mean "dumb". Now, I'm no PC crusader, but she is, so unless she is 10 years old, there is really no justification for that.

/end rant

Cristi said...

hahaha! Thank you, N-bone.

I'm with you on all three points, i think. I'm not sure why i'm not more angry about it.

I started corresponding with her because of a post where she ranted about a sign saying "eyebrows threading." She didn't know what eyebrow threading was, though that shouldn't matter too much. I emailed her to find out whether she'd taken into account that people who run eyebrow threading shops are sometimes foreign (they were in Providence, at least). She had pretty reasonable answers, so that was that.

glad you're keeping up the good fight :)

natalia said...

ha! i was actually going to bring that up as one of my hate points - the fact the she doesn't acknowledge that some of the errors she finds are made by foreign people who do not have a great command of english. but i didn't, because i suppose there's the counter-argument that if these people live in america and advertise to americans, they should learn the language (though i still don't think that's a fair excuse to make fun of non-native english speakers, but i don't want to go there, cause it could get personal).

i also found two related errors in her posts. on two separate occasions, to which i'm too lazy to link (plus, i don't want to increase her page rank anymore), she claims that the words "bussed" and "busses" are not correct usage for the verb that means "transported by bus" and the plural form of "bus", and actually mean "kissed" and "kisses". while those kiss-related meanings are certainly valid, Merriam-Webster disagrees about the bus-related usage:
http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/bussed and http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/busses

so bam.

Antony said...

I love your blog. I'm a grad student in English Lit at Fayetteville State University working on post-modern narratives. Let's link each other: http://combingmyhair.blogspot.com .

antonygrow@yahoo.com said...

I believe this is a special case. While somone on the Yankees would need be a Yankees but a Yankee, someone on the Red Sox would still be a Sox because the name of the team refers to the fact that they wear red socks. Sox is a respelling of the original socks, and so a player on that team would be a socks (sox), not a sock because the players all wear, I'm supposing, two socks.

From French to Japanese said...

The Red Sox deserve to keep him! What;s the big deal anyway!

Judy and Harold

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