Friday, August 22, 2008

This cheers me emensely

Thanks to Language Log, I learn that two members of the vigilante group TEAL (Typo Eradication Advancement League), those guys who traveled around the country correcting signs and blogging about it, have been convicted of vandalism after defacing an historic, more-than-sixty-year-old, hand-painted sign:
Two self-anointed "grammar vigilantes" who toured the nation removing typos from public signs have been banned from national parks after vandalizing a historic marker at the Grand Canyon.

Jeff Michael Deck, 28, of Somerville, Mass., and Benjamin Douglas Herson, 28, of Virginia Beach, Va., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Flagstaff after damaging a rare, hand-painted sign in Grand Canyon National Park. They were sentenced to a year's probation, during which they cannot enter any national park, and were ordered to pay restitution.

According to court records, Deck and Herson toured the United States from March to May, wiping out errors on government and private signs. On March 28, while at Desert View Watchtower on the South Rim, they used a white-out product and a permanent marker to deface a sign painted more than 60 years ago by artist Mary Colter. The sign, a National Historic Landmark, was considered unique and irreplaceable, according to Sandy Raynor, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix.
It's going to cost over $3,000 to fix the sign, which was made by Mary Colter, who designed the 1930s watchtower as well as other Grand Canyon-area landmarks. (You can see a picture of it - before defacement - at the Log.)

ps - the word "emensely", which tormented Deck badly ("I was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further, so we had to let the other typo stand. Still, I think I shall be haunted by that perversity") is actually not "a made-up word". It's in the OED and is a fairly common archaic variant on "immense". But to guys like Deck & Co., a "variant" is nothing less than an "error".

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4 Comments:

At 6:58 PM, August 22, 2008 Blogger the chaplain had this to say...

But to guys like Deck & Co., a "variant" is nothing less than an "error".

Huh. I didn't realize that language Nazis had so much in common with religious nuts.

 
At 10:10 AM, August 24, 2008 Blogger Ed Absurdum had this to say...

I posted about this too. I didn't bother looking up emense, since I didn't really care whether it was in a dictionary or not. Even if it were a misspelling, it wouldn't be "a made-up word"--it would be a misspelling. (Unless these jokers are claiming that every misspelling is a neologism.) Another case of people making fools of themselves while trying to show off how smart they are.

 
At 10:14 AM, August 24, 2008 Blogger Ed Absurdum had this to say...

PS. Your link on "have been convicted of vandalism" doesn't lead to where it's supposed to.

 
At 11:06 AM, August 24, 2008 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

I think they do - and not just a "made-up word" but a crime against English. Sigh.

And thanks for the tip about the link; clearly I flipped to the wrong Firefox tab and didn't pay enough attention. Hope you enjoyed the article ;-)

 

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