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THE INFILTRATOR!

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THE INFILTRATOR!

Postby blunt » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:16 pm

Image

Inciteful and insightful!
If Ned and the lower trolls ever read this book they would be transformed!

From the Austin Chronicle:San Francisco-based journo Harmon Leon makes it his business to go where others only dream, or fear, to tread; that is, to the (in)famous XXX Church's "Porn Sunday," for example, or to a hot and dusty corner of the Arizona desert to spend some time trolling for illegals with the Minutemen. Leon has cataloged these journeys in his third book, The Infiltrator: My Undercover Exploits in Right-Wing America, a fast-paced read where gonzo journalism meets Onion-esque satire – not unlike David Foster Wallace, but, thankfully, far less dense and chewy. The beautiful thing about Leon's brand of infiltration journalism is its accessibility – man-on-the-street prose, but pregnant with quick wit – that allows the reader to actually imagine being there, doing that. On the set of the "cool Christian" public access TV talk show, Miracles Happen, riffing about your (totally made up, but convincingly described) Christian speed-metal band, Pray-er; hanging around a North Hollywood porn movie set, eating greasy-ass fried chicken and watching sweaty men direct the action while waiting for your walk-on; or attending an abstinence conference to learn how to be a "teen abstinence educator." In short, The Infiltrator offers a taste of what life is like when you have the balls to act like you belong wherever, or to whatever, you choose.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:41 pm

Sequel to Republican Like Me: Infiltrating Red-State, White-Ass, and Blue-Suit America.

And yes, Professor, that last comma is actually printed on the cover of the book. Sorry!
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:49 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:And yes, Professor, that last comma is actually printed on the cover of the book. Sorry!

Perhaps the publisher should enlist RockHopper's free economic consultation services so he can explain how much money they'd save not printing that extra comma.

Not only would they save on ink, but the added weight of that comma is undoubtedly causing extra damage to our roadways every time a truckload of books is shipped from one location to another. Then there's the extra cost of gas to haul those commas, the extra wear and tear on the fleet, extra medical costs for the workers who have to lift those commas, extra floor repairs for weight-related stress in buildings which house books, and so on. The mind boggles! I seriously think publishers should consider printing books sans punctuation and then maybe sending the periods, commas and what-have-you along later, either on bikes or buses.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:51 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
TheBookPolice wrote:And yes, Professor, that last comma is actually printed on the cover of the book. Sorry!

Perhaps the publisher should enlist RockHopper's free economic consultation services so he can explain how much money they'd save not printing that extra comma.

Not only would they save on ink, but the added weight of that comma is undoubtedly causing extra damage to our roadways every time a truckload of books is shipped from one location to another. Then there's the extra cost of gas to haul those commas, the extra wear and tear on the fleet, extra medical costs for the workers who have to lift those commas, extra floor repairs for weight-related stress in buildings which house books, and so on. The mind boggles! I seriously think publishers should consider printing books sans punctuation and then maybe sending the periods, commas and what-have-you along later, either on bikes or buses.


ee cummings for prsdnt
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Postby blunt » Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:54 pm

Republican Like Me: Infiltrating Red-State, White-Ass, and Blue-Suit America.

That second comma is VITAL.
Otherwise, White-Ass and Blue-Suit would be inadvertently combined.
So we'd have not Red-, White-, and Blue- states but only Red States plus Whiteass Blue States.
Dropping that last comma in a list of three or more items is a huge mistake being mindlessly perpetuated by grammarians who are in grave error.

It's wrong, incorrect, and stupid.
Not wrong, incorrect and stupid.
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:38 pm

blunt wrote:Republican Like Me: Infiltrating Red-State, White-Ass, and Blue-Suit America.

That second comma is VITAL.
Otherwise, White-Ass and Blue-Suit would be inadvertently combined.

Although I can see where you're coming from, the sentence becomes grammatically incorrect if you assume those two terms should be combined. You simply cannot combine only two ideas with just a comma, so this is a poor example of the fact that yes, sometimes that extra comma is necessary to avoid confusion. But even if you add an extra term - "Infiltrating Red-State, Green-Eggs, White-Ass, and Blue-Suit America" - you'd need an extra "and" to make the sentence grammatically correct if the last two terms were intended to be combined - "Infiltrating Red-State, Green-Eggs and White-Ass and Blue-Suit America".

It's wrong, incorrect, and stupid.
It's wrong, incorrect and stupid.
Sorry, but there's no chance of ambiguity here, either. It's not wrong and it's not ungrammatical, but that extra comma is exactly that - extra. Both of the above two sentences have exactly the same meaning. And just as in the example above, combining the last two terms as written renders the sentence grammatically incorrect. Regardless, there's simply no sense in which "incorrect and stupid" could be linked together as a single term, separated from "wrong", so I'm unsure where you think any confusion would arise.

There are absolutely examples where such confusion might arise, but neither of yours qualify.

Here's one for ya:
"She packed a toothbrush, her dental floss, a teddy bear and her t-shirt, and then closed the suitcase."
"She packed a toothbrush, her dental floss, a teddy bear, and her t-shirt, and then closed the suitcase."

In the first example, the t-shirt could well belong to a female teddy bear. In the second, not so much.
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Postby Garimba » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:35 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Here's one for ya:
"She packed a toothbrush, her dental floss, a teddy bear and her t-shirt, and then closed the suitcase."
"She packed a toothbrush, her dental floss, a teddy bear, and her t-shirt, and then closed the suitcase."

In the first example, the t-shirt could well belong to a female teddy bear. In the second, not so much.


Punkarchivist said...

"those little guys have sharp teeth and nothing but time on their hands."

But he was talking about raccoons and garbage cans.

(I'm only posting this because I am truly envious of your ability to argue at this level. I couldn't make your team as a waterboy!)
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Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:40 am

It's time to play the punctuation game.

http://eatsshootsandleaves.com/ESLquiz.html
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Postby white_rabbit » Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:44 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:"She packed a toothbrush, her dental floss, a teddy bear, and her t-shirt, and then closed the suitcase."



I do know that most of my English teachers would have taken their red pen and crossed out the last 'and' and the second to last comma.

"She packed a toothbrush, her dental floss, a teddy bear and her t-shirt, then closed the suitcase."
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:03 pm

white_rabbit wrote:"She packed a toothbrush, her dental floss, a teddy bear and her t-shirt, then closed the suitcase."
You're right - that is much better.

I wracked my brain trying to come up with an example where you needed the extra comma, but if you write the above sentence correctly in the first place (as white_rabbit suggests), the sentence becomes ungrammatical if you combine the last two terms into a single thought. Hmmmm... maybe you don't ever need the extra comma after all. Can anyone else come up with an example where without the last comma, the meaning becomes unclear?
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Postby white_rabbit » Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:25 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote: Can anyone else come up with an example where without the last comma, the meaning becomes unclear?


"I was given the choice. I could get fucked up, but I could only get fucked up on one of the options that were presented to me. My choices were pot, beer, rum, and coke."
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:23 pm

white_rabbit wrote: "My choices were pot, beer, rum, and coke."

Yet again, if you remove the comma the sentence becomes grammatically incorrect if you combine the last two choices unless you add an additional "and". I'm starting to think the problem is that folks don't understand the rules for making lists with an "and" at the end, not whether there's a comma there or not.

If you mean "rum and coke" to be a single choice, this sentence is grammatically incorrect:
"My choices were pot, beer, rum and coke" because now there's no "and" to denote the last member of the series.
It would properly need to be written: "My choices were pot, beer and rum and coke."
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Postby white_rabbit » Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:30 pm

But if you are constructing the sentence for comedic effect and it works and it is not grammatically incorrect, then the extra comma works and is useful.
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:25 pm

white_rabbit wrote:...then the extra comma works and is useful.
Don't you mean "...then the extra comma works, and is useful"?
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Postby fennel » Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:07 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:It would properly need to be written: "My choices were pot, beer and rum and coke."

That's one option, but the inferred combination of beer, rum, and coke is less than appetizing. More clearly:
"My choices were pot, beer, and rum and coke."

Or, better, "My choices were pot, beer, or rum and coke."

Or more simple still:
"My choices were pot, beer, rum and coke."

The "and" is optional but doesn't suffice as a stand-in for the missing comma.
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