Friday, August 7, 2015

Write and Wrong

obama, obama jokes, political, humor, cartoon, conservative, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, GOP, candidates, Grammarly, grammar

In turns out that your friends and the NSA aren't the only ones reading your Facebook posts. A new study produced by the Wall Street Journal and Grammarly (a nifty online grammar-checking service) reviewed the Facebook comments of people supporting various GOP candidates to see which group had the most grammatical errors, and which had the fewest.

The winner: Carly Fiorina, whose erudite fans made only 6.3 errors per 100 words. The loser: Donald Trump, whose supporters made 12.6 errors - although this might be blamed on bad comb overs getting in their eyes while they're pounding their keyboards.

You can read the full results and rankings right here to see if you belong to a group which needs remedial grammar lessons. Although considering the increasing rarity of proper grammar, spelling, punctuation and the English language in general, you're probably fine. Especially since Hope n' Change readers are, by actual statistical analysis, more intelligent, more well spoken, and more likely to be audited annually than our fellow citizens.

Of course, proper grammar isn't necessarily synonymous with intelligence. Otherwise Yoda would still be in second grade. And as we point out in the cartoon above, we greatly prefer mistakes which are purely technical ("I ain't supporting them baby butchers at Planned Parenthood") to mistakes which are genuinely substantive ("The quintessential essence of my plan is that it prevents Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon").


We just finished watching both Fox News GOP debates, and overall were quite pleased by the performances of most of the candidates.

Interestingly, it seems like the study by Grammarly may have had genuine predictive value - Carly Fiorna was declared the clear winner of the early debate, and in the later debate Donald Trump largely stunk up the stage with his oafish bombast.

And Just For Fun...

My delightful niece and her family are visiting North Carolina and found this in a store window...

And this in the local paper (the prestigious Appalachian Messenger)...

Well done, North Carolina! Keep up the good work!


txGreg said...

I'll be honest - I was looking forward to hearing more from Fiorina anyway, and I was not disappointed. I'd peg her as the overall, consistent winner of the evening from my perspective. Although, Ben Carson closed our the second debate with a bang. Great response to the last question, and solid closing remarks. I'm still very pleased with my personal #1 choice for the GOP nomination too - Mr Ted Cruz.

Joseph ET said...

I like Ted Cruz for POTUS.

I liked Carly Fiorina right away because of her experience and she talks about the issues. She isn’t trying to win the election on her gender, even complaining the “Bill Clinton” hasn’t called her. Must be the one female in the nation that he has missed.

Ben Carson’s closing remark was great "I'm the only one to take out a half of a brain, although if you look at Washington you would think some beat me to it."

txGreg said...

I thought Carly's response to that question was especially adept. They asked a question, wanting (IMO) her to attack Trump. She took a light jab at him - a comment he made recently about WJC calling him with some advice - and yet still managed to get the real opponents - the Clinton political machine - back in her crosshairs. No wonder Perry made the comment about how much better off we'd have been with her negotiating in Iran rather than Lurch.

mjloehrer said...

Hooray for Stilton. He's our hero.

Fred Ciampi said...

Methinks 'The Donald' needs lessons in public speaking but I do like the fact that he says just what he thinks and feels. Rand Paul needs to cut back on the caffeine and he does make some very good points. It's going to be an interesting year with no shortage of material for Hope n' Change. (I wonder what Rosie is thinking? Hmmmm)

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@txGreg- Fiorina is like the "anti-Hillary." She's sharp, likable, and speaks directly to issues instead of defaulting to political spin and weasel wording. Carson was a softer presence than most, but still able to make some good points. Cruz certainly did well, which comes as no surprise. Frankly, I think any of the 17 candidates could whip Hillary in a debate.

@Joseph ET- I also really liked Carson's observation on race, saying that as a neurosurgeon he operates on the thing that really defines a person - their brain, not their skin. And he spoke with conviction about Americans becoming unified instead of divided, a message we desperately need today.

@txGreg- Carly was able to deliver some zingers with real style, scoring points without seeming harsh or ham-fisted about it. And I really liked Perry's remark praising her negotiating skills. How great would it be to see GOP candidates talking each other up instead of tearing each other down?

@mjloehrer- I'll happily accept the "hooray," but the word "hero" should really only be applied to folks who've earned it. Like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, I aspire only to being a "good deed doer."

Geoff King said...

I did not watch the debates, as I have almost as hard of a time believing anything out of a republican's mouth as I do believing anything out of a democrat's mouth.
In reading several media recaps of the event, it appears that all attacked Hillary, as is to be expected, and many attacked Trump for his previous support of the Clintons, which is revealing. I believe the man lost a lot of his credibility with his answer to Megyn Kelly's question about his previously calling women "fat pigs" and so forth. Had he just quit with his "only Rosie O'donnell" statement, he may have avoided a sexist label, but in a later interview he called Kelly a "bimbo" for asking the question. Goodbye Donald.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Fred Ciampi- Trump's directness and lack of political correctness are valuable because they get real issues on the table. I'd have nothing but praise for his involvement at this stage of the process were it not for his threat to go third party. That makes him both dangerous and insincere about his claim to be either Republican or conservative.

I've got to admit, though, that his line about Rosie O'Donnell got a good laugh out of me!

@Geoff King- The debates were easier to watch than I thought they'd be, and while rhetoric doesn't mean a lot, it seemed like actual intelligence and sincerity were also being displayed from time to time.

I have mixed feelings about the questions FOX asked of Trump. It almost felt like a hatchet job - but then, I can't actually point to a single question which struck me as being truly inappropriate or irrelevant. His "fat pig" comments would alienate women voters, and that made the question fair.

Dave from The Cheese Head Nation. said...

I read the listing in Grammarly. It means nothing because the vast majority of readers would not know the difference. After I retired from law enforcement, I spent 12 years as a substitute teacher in three different public school districts. Grammar is no longer taught, and cursive writing is a thing of the past because of computer keyboards. Conventions - capitalization, punctuation, spelling, etc. - are often ignored and misuse carries no sanctions. Only one Middle School teacher taught what we used to call "Civics." That was the class which taught students how our government worked, the relationship among the three branches of government, the function of each, etc. American History is also an often ignored subject. Two eighth graders thought that I knew a lot about The Civil War because I was in it. The first presidential debate between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy was interesting, but the media messed it up when they kept talking about "The five o'clock shadow" Nixon had. It referred to Nixon as looking unshaven. Apparently they thought that was more important than the substance of the debate.

David DeGerolamo said...

Thank you for putting the pictures from North Carolina from our operations' center. I guarantee that we will continue to do good works.

Dick said...

Stilton, you DO make some money off of their publishing your stuff, right?

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dave from the Cheese Head Nation- I find it hugely disheartening to consider the way grammar and writing have gone down the toilet. Not because I'm a stickler for rules, but because I believe these skills are vital for actually processing information in a meaningful way. I've often said that "writing" is actually thinking - and the words on the page are just proof of thought.

Conversely, I think computers and social media are genuinely robbing current generations of the ability to process complex information. Which may be one of the reasons that Civics and History are barely taught anymore.

@Dave DeGerolamo- Good hearing from you, and thanks for the front window exposure!

David DeGerolamo said...

@Stilton Jarlsberg
If you are ever in Murphy, NC, stop in. I will tell you the story of the woman who called us racist for putting your cartoons in the window.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dick- In fact, I don't make money from such publishing. Per the terms of use craftily hidden at the bottom of the page, people are free to re-use and publish my work as long as they keep the attribution attached, and as long as they're not specifically selling my works (inclusion in a paper is fine).

I actually make no money from Hope n' Change at all; I carry a couple of ads which generate almost exactly the amount of revenue it takes to pay for my direct mail service (to alert readers to new content). That being said, I'm hoping this will all pay off when the Koch brothers decide to put me on the payroll for the crucial months leading up to the next election.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@David DeGerolamo- My niece mentioned that anecdote and it gave me a nice laugh. Thanks for being on the front lines of public reaction while I get to hide behind my keyboard!

txGreg said...

For anyone who wanted a bit more Carly Fiorina after the debate yesterday, check out this video as she takes MSLSD's Chris "Tingles" Matthews to the woodshed and leaves him virtually speeechless. Avid Hillary apologists are really going to have to up their game if they're planning to do battle with her.

Anonymous said...

Um... Stilton?

While we're thinking about grammar, we should also turn our attention to punctuation.

You have neglected the Oxford Comma in your commentary. It's rather difficult to read your prose when there are such glaring errors. ;)

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@txGreg- Thanks for the link! I'd heard about this exchange and was looking forward to seeing it!

@Anonymous- I do wrestle from time to time with whether or not to use the Oxford comma. Which is funny, because I probably use three times too many commas everywhere else. A true thing: for many years I wrote radio scripts in a small market. The announcers who would read those scripts sometimes needed help in getting the delivery right, so I used commas, ellipses, dashes, italics, ALL CAPS, and other tricks. The spots came out sounding fine, but the practice has played hob with my writing.

Actually, that's what the website is all about; people pay a subscription fee and then upload their writing for a quick grammar fix. I think people are used to my somewhat idiosyncratic style, but for people in a collegiate or business setting I could really see the value of such a service.

By the way, in today's commentary I actually spelled the word "errors" wrong when talking about grammatical errors. I fixed it, but sheesh - what a time and place to have a typo!

John the Econ said...

Can't wait to see how the Democrats score with the grammar thing.

I didn't get to see the debate, since the Econ family lacks cable TV. (We got tired of spending nearly $100/month for subsidizing the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo) But I did listen to a bit of it, and I have to admit that I was rather bored. Was expecting Trump to be more interesting. Was expecting all of them to be more interesting, frankly.

But I was amused by this tweet from the DNC. It features a animated and confused looking little girl in pink, and comments on Carly's "leadership" over HP's falling stock price during her tenure.

Of course, it's hypocritical on multiple levels. First, could you imagine the furor had the GOP tweeted such a thing over Hillary? "Benghazi? Wha? What difference does it make now?" "War on Women" indeed.

But it's also hypocritical in the context of Hillary's latest criticism of Wall Street's focus on short-term growth over long term. Carla faced very long-term questions at HP. Which is it DNC?

I have yet to hear MY question asked: Exactly how has flooding America with cheap immigrant labor done anything to help "the middle class" with jobs and wages?

And well done @Stilton on your publishing achievements. You keep up the good work!

PRY said...

ANY of the 17 candidates would be preferable to what the Dhimmicrats can scrape glad to see Democrat Debbie (Schultz) so giddy about her party's chances of winning because she saw NOTHING of any value in what they said last night...and how upset she was because they completely forgot to make 'social justice' issues front and center while they were in front of the nation last night! Talk about someone who does not get it...just another of the 'useful idiots' we've all known about for quite a while!

I believe the good thing is that voters definitely (again) have a distinct choice to make. I fear though that those votes still will be made by those living off the American teat full-time~!

DougM said...

Heckfire, Stilton,
this here ol' adopted Nawthcarlinyin posts your stuff with punctuated regularity.
Case in point (first line)
I mean, well, no, perhaps it ain't like bein' posted on some lah-di-dah door or nuthin' fancy like that.
(What? Yeah, this should screw-up Stilton's site grammar statistics, but good.)

PRY said...

Oh yeah!!!! Great to see your strip making the rounds....recently I clicked on what I believe was your very first one....December 31, 2009. The quality was great and gets better as time goes on!

John the Econ said...

Unrelated topic: Was downtown yesterday evening with Mrs. Econ. There’s a bridge on the main drag through town where the over-undereducated vocal minority types from the university frequently assemble to protest the topic of the day. My favorite was earlier this year when a half-dozen blonde 20-ish girls were jumping up and down with “No Justice – No Peace” signs. It took nearly every fiber of my being not to stop and ask them, “Exactly what ‘justice’ is it you seek, and just what are you going to do if you don’t get it? Rampage through downtown, break windows and loot stuff like common street thugs? Because if that’s the case, I’d kinda like to see that.” A gaggle of bouncy 20-ish blonds is not particularly intimidating.

Anyway, yesterday’s protesters had bright pink signs that said “Don’t take away our birth control”. I can only imagine that this was a reaction to GOP threats to de-fund UnPlanned UnParenthood. Clearly, these people were part of the Sandra Fluke wing of the feminist left who equate having to pay for their own recreational sex as right wing oppression. Again, I really wanted to stop and ask, “Just who is taking away your birth control and how”? I'm pretty sure that even if the GOP does manage to de-fund UnPUnP, condoms and pills will still be freely available at the campus health center.

My response to whatever their answer might have been would then be, ”Adults take responsibility for themselves. It’s children that require that others take care of their basic and elective needs. Clearly, if you are unable or unwilling to pay for your own birth control, then you ARE NOT an adult, and therefore should not be having sex.”

Colby Muenster said...

I'm trying really hard to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, but all I saw last night was a pompous blowhard. I thought everybody else on the stage exhibited considerable class, even Christie and Paul. I wish I'd watched the first debate; I heard Fiorina tore it up!

Trump is, however, doing a wonderful job of stirring the pot and getting folks engaged, and if he can actually get some moonbats to finally open their eyes and start using their brains, he has rendered an invaluable service to the country. Sadly, I fear his poll numbers will start sagging, and he'll end up running 3rd party, and we all know what the likely result of that will be (shudder).

I'm still in Ted Cruz's corner, but would gladly vote for Walker, Huckabee, Rubio, Paul, Jindahl, Fiorina, Kasich, Perry, Carson... Just somebody PLEASE let Bush and Christie get abducted by aliens or something!

Better yet, get the aliens to abduct Shillery.

Grammarly? I too, would love to see them do a similar study on the Democrap side. We're talking about young people who never learned to write a proper letter and truncate every word possible to write Tweets about what their professors and peers told them to think.

Joseph ET said...

@Stilton I noticed the way you spelled the word "errors" wrong (or incorrectly because you are never wrong) when talking about grammatical errors, but I thought you were just trolling for the language Nazis. I’m better at math than English and spelling is always a challenge. I learned to underline words looked up in the dictionary in red so I can find them quickly again and again. I think my brain has a blocker on spelling. Love my computerized spell check. And then there’s always the issues of words that sound the same that have different meanings and spelling, AKA homophones. When on line, I often use Google to quickly check things.

Rod said...

Trump is a deal maker. That won't change. I think Trumps' game is to gather up power then decide the election by throwing his support to another of his choice (and probably for a deal) before the general election. He'd be an idiot to actually want the job. Meanwhile I do like his straight talk; and his insults. Most are very well deserved.

Joseph ET said...

Governor (Moonbeam) Brown blames climate change for burning of California on May 06, 2013 and on May 7, 2015. Governor Moonbeam seems to forget that California has a regular cycle of droughts and we have fires annually. Some years are worse than others. And that’s how it’s always been, a fact of life.
Here’s a little satire from townhall com but I wouldn’t be surprised if the nuts in Sacramento would pass the New California Law – No Bosses

@John the Econ
Thanks for another excellent post. Love it!

JustaJeepGuy said...

@Dave from The Cheese Head Nation,

I have heard/read that those who watched the Nixon/Kennedy debate(s) thought Kennedy won, whereas those who only listened to the debates thought Nixon won. So, we've been suffering from the news people siding with the Demo_Rats, promoting style over substance, for 55 years now.

John the Econ said...

@Joseph ET, most people living in California don't seem to realize that were it not for the massive water projects undertaken starting over a century ago, the state, especially the southern half, would be mostly uninhabitable. When western explorers and settlers began arriving less than 200 years ago, the native population of the state could be counted in the mere thousands, simply because larger populations could not be sustained by the landscape and prevalent climate. The detailed weather record of the state is barely 150 years old; a blink of the eye in climate terms. In fact, it could be argued that the last hundred years or so may, in fact, had been California's "wet cycle", and that dryer cycles are more the norm.

During Governor Moonbeam's first term in the '70s, the environmental movement successfully put a stop to current and planned water projects. Back then, California's population was roughly 20-million. Now the population has nearly doubled and instead of blaming the situation on his short-sightedness, he's more than happy to go the "It's Climate Change" route. To double-down on this insanity, California will continue to build it's high-speed train to nowhere instead of spending the money on things that actually matter, like improving existing infrastructure and adding reservoir capacity to support a still-growing population.

@JustaJeepGuy, Not long before he passed, I recall an interview of Don Hewitt, of "60 Minutes" fame. He directed the Nixon-Kennedy debate. He enthusiastically boasted that he intentionally directed close-ups of Nixon as he sweated under the hot studio lights in order to make him look stressed as compared to Kennedy. This is probably the first documented instance of leftist media bias in television news; a tradition that CBS proudly carried on through Vietnam and Dan Rather's professional implosion.

JustaJeepGuy said...

@John the Econ,

I was thinking about this idea more, and I recall that all the news people thought Adlai Stevenson would be elected... and then he was soundly trounced by Eisenhower. So it's true that the media has had a leftist bias since even before 1960, they just didn't do anything about it until then. Weasels, all of 'em!

Suzy said...

I'm late to this discussion, but I think the questions were fair to Trump. He has a questionable background for a "Republican" candidate, and the questions needed answers. (He answered them terribly, too. I had been considering him, but not after the debate. His answers did not convince me he isn't a disguised Democrat.) If he wins, he will get MUCH worse in the main race. So he better stop whining while it's still easy.

Congrats on being famous! :-) That is VERY cool, and I bet Obama has one of your comics on his own refrigerator! Well maybe that or in the fireplace, but still.....