Critics’ latest frosted-tipped punching bag: celebrity chef and television host Guy Fieri.
Sure, the New York Times suggested that “everything at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar is inedible,” but Fieri is by no means alone. This year, for example, Eddie Murphy’s A Thousand Words (“a tired, formulaic comedy,” as one reviewer called it) scored 0 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and Rolling Stone denounced Lana Del Rey as “just another aspiring singer who wasn’t ready to make an album yet” (and that’s nicer than some critiques on Twitter following her flawed performance on Saturday Night Live).
Might today’s reflexive culture—which thrives on reviewing, liking, commenting, and sharing, often anonymously—have made critics more hostile? What superhuman public figure hasn’t at some point, however brief, been the object of scorn recently (besides Ryan Gosling)?
The bright side is that making a comeback, while tough, is not impossible—consider how far Ben Affleck (receiving critical acclaim for directing Argo and The Town) has progressed since his turn in the cringe-inducing Gigli. Sometimes there’s nowhere to go but up. Here are some tips on how to deal with a bad review.
Will Dean’s Ideas Factory: How does a robotic copy editor cope with Ulysses? – Features – Gadgets & Tech – The Independent
As the newspaper industry works out how to tackle the threat from free online news and other structural problems, some journalists can at least take heart that, no matter, what the medium – newsprint, the web, or electronic paper – a good copy editor is an essential role. As it is in publishing and advertising/copy-writing, too. When the robots are making our coffee and vacuuming our floors, at least they won’t be criticising us for our use of cliches… Oh. Hang on a minute…
Pro Writing Aid is the creation of Chris Banks, a London-based programmer. It allows writers to insert their copy and uses algorithms to pick out redundancies, cliches, overused words, unvaried sentence lengths and other errors which relate to neither spelling or grammar.
I put the technology to the test by entering a feature I wrote for these pages last week on 3D printing. The analysis came back with a plethora of suggestions, including four “overused words”, a couple of redundancies (“component parts”, tssk) and a massive 16 issues of “vague or abstract words”. Alright, Sir Harry Evans-robot, I get it. Though some of the points were fair enough, others still need a bit of human nuance. One of my red-marked phrases was “kind of” which might be weak for a novel but was part of a vital quote from one of the people I spoke to.
When Caren Berg told colleagues at a recent staff meeting, “There’s new people you should meet,” her boss Don Silver broke in, says Ms. Berg, a senior vice president at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., marketing and crisis-communications company.
“I cringe every time I hear people misuse “is” for “are,” Mr. Silver says. The company’s chief operations officer, Mr. Silver also hammers interns to stop peppering sentences with “like.” For years, he imposed a 25-cent fine on new hires for each offense. “I am losing the battle,” he says.
Managers are fighting an epidemic of grammar gaffes in the workplace. Many of them attribute slipping skills to the informality of email, texting and Twitter where slang and shortcuts are common. Such looseness with language can create bad impressions with clients, ruin marketing materials and cause communications errors, many managers say.
There’s no easy fix. Some bosses and co-workers step in to correct mistakes, while others consult business-grammar guides for help. In a survey conducted earlier this year, about 45% of 430 employers said they were increasing employee-training programs to improve employees’ grammar and other skills, according to the Society for Human Resource Management and AARP.
“I’m shocked at the rampant illiteracy” on Twitter, says Bryan A. Garner, author of “Garner’s Modern American Usage” and president of LawProse, a Dallas training and consulting firm. He has compiled a list of 30 examples of “uneducated English,” such as saying “I could care less,” instead of “I couldn’t care less,” or, “He expected Helen and I to help him,” instead of “Helen and me.”
Leslie Ferrier says she was aghast at letters employees were sending to customers at a Jersey City, N.J., hair- and skin-product marketer when she joined the firm in 2009. The letters included grammar and style mistakes and were written “as if they were speaking to a friend,” says Ms. Ferrier, a human-resources executive. She had employees use templates to eliminate mistakes and started training programs in business writing.
Strange Random Grammar Quotes:
“Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.” ― C.S. Lewis, Letters to Children
“Man, wow, there’s so many things to do, so many things to write! How to even begin to get it all down and without modified restraints and all hung-up on like literary inhibitions and grammatical fears…”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
- Take the Grammartarian Grammar Test at WSJ (reason.com)
- In age of Twitter and texting, workplace grammar slipping fast (prsa.org)
- Wall Street Journal: Data is or data are? (jimromenesko.com)
- Does grammar matter anymore? (LOL) (cbsnews.com)
- Between You and I, is Standard Usage and Grammar Necessary in Business? (nclawlife.com)
- Grammar Gremlins: Upon review, ‘on’ oft preferred (knoxnews.com)
- Friday fun: test your grammar skills (vivianpaige.com)
- Can you Speel It? (dailypost.wordpress.com)
- About the grammar quiz in the WSJ article (proswrite.com)