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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Glamour & Grammar & Gaga

Welcome to the first edition of Glamour & Grammar, the new series in which I'll address grammar fails grammatical failures in pop culture. Today we'll be talking about Lady Gaga and her flagrant misuse of pronouns.

In Gaga's newest hit, "You and I," the singer mistakenly follows "about," a preposition, with "I," a subjective pronoun, instead of "me," an objective pronoun.

Using the word "I" when the word "me" is correct is the grammatical equivalent of sticking your pinky out while drinking beer. It's out of place, and it has the potential to look pretentious.

This grammatical mistake pains me more than all others because it's an overcompensation. People don't say "and I" unthinkingly. They say "and I" deliberately because they've been taught that "and me" is wrong.

Sometimes "and me" is wrong. Take, for example, Lady Gaga's 2009 hit "Bad Romance." In it she uses "me," an objective pronoun, as a subject.

In an attempt to avoid this ostensibly more grievous mistake, many people have begun to avoid "and me" and "or me" altogether.

They start saying things like:
"Lady Gaga waved at Alejandro and I." (object of preposition)
"If Gaga wants my bad romance, she better email my agent or I the contract." (indirect object)
"The paparazzi won't stop photographing Gaga and I." (direct object)
(in a slightly different vein)
"Lady Gaga and I's poker faces are unreadable." (possessive adjective)

These constructions overestimate the capabilities of "I" and underestimate the capabilities of "me." 

Just because "me" makes an unfit subject or predicate nominative doesn't mean it can't make an apt direct object, indirect object or object of a preposition. 

And just because "I" makes a first-rate subject or predicate nominative doesn't mean it can function as a direct object, indirect object, object of a preposition or possessive adjective. Read: "I's" is never a word. 

[In fact, I think the widespread acceptance of "I's" as a newfangled possessive adjective indicates just how far the "and I" epidemic has spread among English speakers. We already have "my," which is fully capable of both standing on its own and being paired with another possessive word (e.g. Lady Gaga's and my poker faces).]

So next time you're trying to pick between "me" and "I," ask yourself, "WWLGD?" And then do the opposite. 

Just kidding. But, seriously, I hope this blog undoes a bit of the damage done by Gaga's grammar and makes the future of pronouns a little bit brighter for you and me

p.s. Yes, I am aware of the fact that "you and me" doesn't rhyme with "cool Nebraska guy," but I'd be willing to bet she came up with the "you and I" line before the "Nebraska guy" line.

p.p.s. What types of grammatical errors pain you most?

Friday, September 16, 2011

A long blog that you should read anyway.

So one of the most interesting things about coming to Mizzou has been getting to see what's popular at a different school in different part of the country.

The first thing that I noticed about Mizzou was the way the students dress. On the first day of class, approximately one million girls were wearing this number: neon sports bras, sorority slub tanks and Nike track shorts. 

(Do you like the little Photoshop compilation I made for you?
Legs from one model, torso from another, sports bra and shorts just stuck on in there? Thought you would.)

My initial reaction was, "OH, so this is their hazing. They make the girls wear these outfits." But no. The first day came and went. And girls were still wearing this. It's like the thing to wear.

On the one hand, I can see the logic in this wardrobe choice. For the first two weeks of classes, it was approximately one billion degrees on campus. On the other hand, I can't see the logic. Because they're going to class. With their sports bras sticking out.

So if that's how the girls look, how do the boys look? They look bearded.

I know what you're saying. You're saying, "Kate, they might look bearded, but they don't look like Jon Hamm and Brad Pitt." To which I say, "Au contraire, monsieur."

Okay, actually not au contraire. You are right. (And you're probably not a monsieur.) They don't look like Jon Hamm and Brad Pitt. But they do look bearded, and I can't miss an opportunity to remind people that Brad Pitt and Jon Hamm went to Mizzou. 

And as long as we're speaking in French, want to know what else is rampant on Mizzou's campus? Amour de Apple. Seriously. I know that I posted this same Mizzou classroom picture back in February, but now I've seen this Apple love with my own eyes, and it still amazes me. Classrooms actually look like that.

Also, the Mizzou campus is like one big iPhone-fest. It's not just the majority of kids who have iPhones. It is the vast majority.

(I also see a surprising number of kids — undergrads, grads and non-J-School kids alike — traipsing around campus with iPads. They're all like, "No big deal. Just chillin' with my iPad.") It's like the future.

Another thing kids love at Mizzou (and my favorite spot on campus) is the completely ridiculous — nay, opulent — recreation center, which everyone calls The Rec. I always go after my classes end, so I have it to look forward to all day.

Going into The Rec is sort of like watching MTV's Cribs. It just seems like way more than anyone could ever need in the way of recreational space.

Don't like the cardio theater?
Go to quiet cardio zone.
Don't like the locker room?
Go to the fancier locker room. (Just $16 a month.)
Don't like the weight room?
Go to the other weight room.
Don't like the pool?
Go to the other pool.
Don't like the other pool?
Go to the other, other pool.
Don't like the other, other pool?
Go to the sauna, ya whiner.
Don't like your toenails?

That little Q&A there just began to touch on all that there is in The Rec. I found out recently that The Rec was actually rated the number one recreational center in the country by Sports Illustrated. I'm not surprised.

(My favorite thing to do in The Rec is the hip-hop spin class. Have you guys ever been spinning?
It is so fun. Go try it. The class I go to is in a black-lit room, and they play loud music, and we all just spin away.)

There are also some random popular things at Mizzou or in Columbia that don't fit nicely into any categories. They include but are not limited to: 

1. Tiger Stripe ice cream
I still haven't tried it, but it is made on campus, and people love it.

2. Churches
Everyone I talk to goes to a different church, and everyone I talk to loves their his or her church.
I've visited three, and I liked all three of them. (First world problems, right?)

3. Smart people
Everybody seems smart here. [I am like not even that special anymore. (Just kidding, bahaha.)]
But, seriously, it makes sense that Columbia is the 13th most educated city in the country!
Or at least it was in 2006

4. "Evangelists"
There are always people "evangelizing" in the speaker's circle at Mizzou. I keep getting this urge to throw Bibles at them and yell "Jesus doesn't motivate with guilt!" But I'm pretty sure that Jesus doesn't motivate by throwing Bibles either. (In other news, Brother Jed's home base is at Mizzou.)

5. Swearing
People love to swear at Mizzou. Profs swear at students. Students swear at profs. Profs swear in their lectures. Students swear in their homework. And it's all no big deal. No big deal, #$@% it!

6. Smoking
People also like to smoke on campus. I will never understand.

7. HyVee
People love this grocery store called HyVee. I went there, and I was all excited to experience it, but it turned out to be...a grocery store. 

8. Hating kansas
People hate kansas here. They hate it so much that they don't even capitalize the k. That is the middle finger of grammar. (Prior to moving here, I'd only seen the middle finger of grammar used for satan.)

9. Asians
There are so many Asians here. (Do you like how I represented them with a picture of Russell from Up? Thought so.) I'm pretty sure there are more Asians in the grad school than non-Asians.

10. Parking garages
I pay $170 a year to park in parking garages, and I spend a lot of time in parking garages. They are taking over the city of Columbia, and there's still not enough parking. 

Wow, parking garages make kind of a lame note to end on. I should have thought of that when I was arranging my collage, but it is 1:12 a.m. now, and there is no way that I am opening up Picasa to rearrange that and make a better conclusion for you guys. 

Has journalism school taught me nothing!?

p.s. I'm starting a new series on my blog called "Grammar with Kate." Clever, right? No, not right. If you can thing of a better name, let me know. It will be a grammar series inspired by pop culture happenings. First topic of discussion: Lady Gaga's new song "You and I." So much is wrong with that song. (Grammatically and otherwise.) Get excited.

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