OK, I wanted to avoid discussing this 'cause it makes me crazy. But there was a cosmic confluence which has made me have to bring it up.

I happened to notice a writeup about "alot." I used to fail anyone in my college English classes who wrote this on a paper. It was just, "Get the hell out of here and work in a freaking garage the rest of your life, 'cause either your high school English teacher screwed you or you weren't listening, Mister!"

And, at the very same time I was reading this writeup, my daughter was watching "Liar, Liar." Jim Carrey, at the very moment of closure in this movie, says, "...for you and I."

On Sesame Street, Ernie says "Maybe you should play a song for Rubber Duckie and I!"

I hear newscasters use "I" in the objective case every day. I hear friends of mine use "I" in the objective case when they want, ever so badly, to use the language correctly.

I blame it on the media. The screenwriters who wrote "Liar, Liar" were graduates of a college, don't you suppose? My daughter says, "They do that 'cause they don't want people to think they sound like people don't really sound when they talk." I disagree. I think they don't know better.

And then there's this writeup I posted along these lines which I titled "X-Files Grammar." Some sociopathic editor deleted it in early 2006 because he has a personal grudge re moi, but I'm reposting it here just to spite him more than any other reason. It was dated 5/22/2000:

In tonight's episode, the season finale, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully arrive at a home of a former abductee. Mulder reminds him of the past by saying, "Do you remember when you sent for Scully and I seven years ago?" I'm screaming at the TV. My family says, "Why do you let this bother you so much?"

Well, I'll tell you why.

Some Hollywood writer wrote this script. It had to be run by several editors, wouldn't you think? Then the Director had to give the script to Mulder and Scully. Then Mulder had to read these lines, with Scully standing right there beside him on the set. He was reading the lines to another grown up actor. This means that at least a dozen people had to hear this line and think it was fine. Apparently none of these people realized that this is horrible grammar. Given that David Duchovny has a Ph.D. in English, this is even more astonishing.

What if Mulder had been alone and had said, "Do you remember when you sent for I seven years ago?" Would that be any different from Mulder saying, "I seen them aliens, too!"

I just don't get it. I consider it a fatal sign of the deterioration of the culture, sort of like the broken window syndrome in the inner cities. You just let it go, and before long it's over.

Well, I tend to fall in the "Realism over Grammar" and "Character over Everything" camp. There are only two classes of people who I would expect to always hear grammatically correct dialogue from in films and television: English teachers and proper British ladies. Real people, even educated people, mangle the English language all the time, and depicting, for example, a mobster, a construction worker, a fratboy, or a housewife speaking textbook-perfect grammar can be jarring to a viewer. In addition, many educated people like attorneys, scientists, or engineers were likely to have taken as few English courses as they had to, so I don't think they'd necessarily have a good grasp of grammar. Besides, worrying about proper grammar in movies, like obsessing over film flubs and re-written history in "true story" films, is bad for your blood pressure.

Newscasters who use bad grammar are a different matter. They are expected to be able to speak clearly and without error (They have mighty few job requirements as it is), so if you catch them making grammatical flubs, call the station and complain. I guarantee you the station wants them corrected.

As for screenwriters graduating from college... it certainly isn't a job requirement. Many colleges offer scriptwriting courses, but a high school grad can learn the same stuff by reading any screenwriting book available at Barnes and Noble.

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