GARISH, SENSATIONALIST JOURNALISM!
Some have suggested, unkindly, that I’m too soft by half in my treatment of my victims and that I never ask the hard questions.
‘Where’s the dirt?’ they ask.
That may be so but let me turn this around and say that my brief is to present a profile, not a warts-‘n-all expose. I’m hardly placed to do the latter and besides, I have no intention of being blackballed from the Garrick Club. I’m a peaceful man, after all.
In its own small way, it’s the selection of whom to present on this page which constitutes the hard line. In the interests of quality, I present only the best bloggers.
And so to today’s scoop and in my tackiest manner I announce, ladies and gentlemen:
Here, never before published in any blog, never seen before on the web, his photographed visage finally, gobsmackingly exposed to a shell-shocked public, is … is … wait for it … the Pedant-General in Ordinary!!!!!
Yes, it is he*, ladies and gentlemen - Her Majesty’s esteemed protector. The scourge of the blogging world, who has fellow bloggers either quaking in their boots or running for cover, sometimes both … and his real name is … is … er, I don’t rightly know. I didn’t actually get that far.
The Pedant-General in Ordinary.
What’s the man about? Well, his own site gave your intrepid investigator the starting point on that:
The Pedant-General is, by his own description: white, male, heterosexual and married, we can safely assume that I am basically stuffed. I might as well give up now.
But then, seeing as I am also from a landed-gentry family, public school educated, an Oxbridge graduate, licenced to keep and use a shotgun, a practising Anglican communicant, lately a Commissioned Officer in Her Majesty's Armed Forces, paying to educate my children privatelyand right-libertarian in outlook, I have got nothing to lose really.....
Thersites comments: Come the revolution, P-G, you'll undoubtedly be one of the first up against the wall, blindfolded, last cigarette etc.
Even Wiki has something to say: The Pedant General in Ordinary is here to boldly maintain the purity of the English language!
The P-G in O has helpfully published a Manifesto:
Whilst much of the origins of the appointment process for the post of Pedant-General in Ordinary are lost in the mists of time (and even those bits that are not remain cloaked in secrecy of the highest order), we can say with certainty that candidates do not have to suffer the ignominy of popular election. I shall pass, lightly, over the ignominy that candidates do have to suffer.
However, I understand that it is customary in a blog of this sort to "set out one’s stall" and to this end, I publish here a manifesto. This, I might add, is not an exhaustive set of policies. But** then, we might reasonably ask, is any manifesto? At least you may be confident that I will stick to this.
· Use of the Grocer's Apostrophe;
· Making any of these basic logical errors;
· Starting paragraphs in a newspaper article with the word "And". Especially if you are a politician;
· Blaming the weapon, rather than the person wielding it;
· Driving in the middle lane of a busy motorway without good cause;
· Advocating Socialism as a means for organising the relationships between communities larger than a small farm;
· Confusing correlation with causation.
Such flogging to be administered on the steps of the perpetrator's club. This is separate category of crime, where it is important that a visible example is set:
· Advocating Socialism for communities larger than a small farm, when one is in a position of power;
· Advocating Creationism when one ought to know better;
· Inviting, on live television, an evidently distressed relative to advocate a ban on whatever it was that killed the recently deceased person in question;
· Confusing "equality of outcome" with "equality of opportunity".
Let's not beat about the bush: We have to make a stand and stop this dangerous nonsense.
· Preferring "equality of outcome" over "equality of opportunity";
· Advocating Creationism when one is in charge of educational policy or children or both;
· Moral Equivalence;
· Unwarranted use of the split infinitive.
But there is another, carefully veiled side to the P-G in O and he will not thank me for revealing this altruistic side; however, this is the sort of e-mail he wrote in my direst hour of template-altering need:
... remembering of course, to change "Blog Roll or whatever you want this to say" to whatever you want the section header for your blogroll to be. (For ref, mine is "Opinion is Free", long before the Guardian shamelessly nicked it) and to change the "yourusername" to whatever your BLOGLINES username is. I have highlighted the bits you need to edit in bold to make it easier for you to see. Then save your template, republish your blog and retire to the mess for tea and medals.
Do fellow bloggers see him as the scourge of the blogosphere? Tim Worstall, after a scathing analysis of an airline failure:
The P-G uncovers a very clever piece of manipulation. This is the problem with regulatory organisations, they are subject to capture by those who would benefit most from the rules being drawn up one way rather than another.
And the P-G’s original point he was originally making?
Given the clarity - nay, purity! - of the stream of knowledge and harmony that is mathematics, your monoglot Pedant-General is exceptionally loathe even to paddle in the stagnant, murky and polluted sewer of economics. However, he is thrilled, not just to spot a monstrous howler as this, but to beat Tim Worstall to it at that.
In order to provide a contigency fund against a one-off event - that of the failure of an airline - and of a largely fixed liability - that of the total number of passengers that an airline could carry at any one time - he proposes an entirely variable surcharge. This seems to be a staggeringly basic error.
Being one of the military fraternity, he is likely to take up his cudgel to defend same:
Your jingoistic and "gung-ho" Pedant-General is an ardent supporter of HM armed services and the courageous men and women who take HM's shilling. He is less enamoured with the snake oil salesmen who purport to be their political masters. The current minister of defence is an exemplary case in point. This man wouldn't recognise integrity or duty to your men if it came up and slapped him on the top of his bald head.
But is the P-G in O relevant? Does he have anything to say on the crisis which is the Middle-East? I hope I don’t misrepresent him with these, his own words:
Israel has nothing to gain by a further occupation of Lebanon, other than to subdue the militants. But, now that those nice gentlemen in Iran have equipped Hezbollah with the longer range Fajr rockets, Israel is going to have to occupy a damn sight more than they did last time to provide an effective buffer zone to protect Israel-proper. I can't see how a ceasefire would be in their gift.
So what is the P-G in O - his roots, so to speak? Is he an Englishman? A Scot? Irish? From the Isle of Man? A clue can be found in this little piece:
Nonsense. The adjectives apply across the board. Scots, English and Welsh people are ALL British. Scots are not English. English people are not Scots. But they are both British.
To give a simple example (for the sake of argument and without prejudice to your real actual place of birth), you are Pennsylvanian. A resident of LA could be described as Californian. But you are both American. The simplest analogy is that Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland are similar to States in the US, with the UK being at the level of Federal Govt.
The analogy is far from perfect since we do not have the strict separation of powers or subsidiarity that is enshrined in the US Constitution, but you get the gist. Creditting California specifically with an achievement of the US as a whole, or worse still of Pennsylvania, would be obviously wrong.
This is a howler of such epic proportions that it profoundly discredits the academic merit of the site in my eyes. It displays an ignorance of things British that I can scarcely credit. An apology and promise to do some fairly basic research would be in order: the updates with the text of emails almost suggest that there is debate on this or a legitimate difference of opinion. There is not.
(Disclaimer: I am a Scot, but I'm proud of my British Passport...)
And my analysis? The P-G in O does his darndest to ‘expunge’ the web of its ‘woolly thinking’ and it’s probably true to say that he’s the scourge of the blogosphere; but what the man fails to disguise is that he is actually, all things considered, really a very nice chap - good people, as they say in America when referring to third person, singular.
The Pedant-General in Ordinary.
[* he ...... James Higham defends to the death the right to adopt subject as object in this particular personal pronoun.]
[**But .......I'm going to take up with the P-G in O the clear use of a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence.]