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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

OPINIONS MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2005 · PAGE 11 GAVIN SHULMAN

In defense of good judgement Just a few minutes ago, the word “judgement” appeared on the television screen. My friend Mike, who takes grammatical things serious, got real mad. “That’s not how it’s spelled, dammit,” he said to the television screen. “It’s not?” I said. “No. There’s no e. The e is for error,” he replied. Mike is usually right, so I believed him, but I decided to look it up in the dictionary.com anyhow. Mike was wrong, sort of. The first definition of judgement is “a variant of judgment,” and the second is just the definition of judgment: “The formation of an opinion after consideration or deliberation.” So, if one had to spell it for “Jeopardy!”, judgment could be spelled judgement. What this must mean then, is that so many people made the mistake of misspelling judgment that they just added the wrong way of spelling it to the dictionary. They dumbed down the dictionary to include the common misspelling of a word. Maybe that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but I think it’s in very bad judgment. Should recieve make it? Should tommorrow? Should Febuary? What’s the point of the dictionary if not to tell us how to spell a word? It’s not like it defines anything. Luckily, my computer is keeping it real and underlined those words in red. The computer knows how to spell things. He won’t let you slip up. He can be counted on, unlike the dictionary. He’ll even fix

them for you. You type it in wrong, he’ll just replace it in right. Nope, after c buddy. That goes the other way around. Nope, no e there. I’ll just take that out for you. We can’t just throw e’s around like we got some to spar. Then everything would start getting messed up. We can’t just alter our language because it’s e-sier that way.

have made a spelling mistake by adding an extra e when he used the word judgement in his 1659 visionary classic An Improvement of the Sea and got it published anyway. They’d only had the printing press for five years, though, so I don’t think they were worrying about editing just yet. The OED also said that William Shakespeare made a spelling mistake in

The computer knows how to spell things. He won’t let you slip up. He can be counted on, unlike the dictionary. He’ll even fix them for you. You type it in wrong, he’ll just replace it in right. Nope, after c, buddy. That goes the other way around. Nope, no e there. I’ll just take that out for you. We can’t just change it when we feel a whim to make people feel better about their spelling abilities. Spelling is meant to differentiate the smart from the stupid. That’s why we have bees. There are good spellers, and there are bad spellers, and we can’t complicate that by making both spell a word right. Even the Oxford English Dictionary has it in there. Judgment, judgement. The Oxford English freaking Dictionary, from which I learned that Daniel Pell must

Act I scene I line 109 of Romeo and Juliet, but I went to a Web site that had the play online, and it had been made right. Every other entry in the dictionary for judgement is spelled correctly: final judgment, summary judgment, in good judgment, judgment day. Every one of these is spelled without the e’s, but yet they put judgement in there anyway. I just don’t understand it. Don’t they realize what their doing? Our language is in danger. The dumb

are taking it over. Our language is being distorted, manipulated, decimated, and decomposed. Pretty much it’s an all-out idiot free-for-all. However you spell it, well, that’s fine, as long as there are enough other shmucks out there are spelling it wrong that way too. We’ll just toss it in here. When the dumb are writing our dictionaries, we’re in trouble. Who’s next, the mimes? Now, I’m no etymologist. I never claimed to be. When I looked that up to learn how to spell it, I though it meant someone who studies bugs. But I do feel it is in my duty as a writer to protect the honor of our language or something. I will not sit idly by and let spelling errors be accepted. I will not let the people be cheated into ignorance. I will fight for correct spellings everywhere. This is why I’m beginning my nationwide campaign to bring proper spelling back into the mainstream. Good spelling will be in style again. Everyone will want to get it right. From the urban centers to the rural general shops, people will be enjoying grammar once again. Spelling will be the new math. We will not let ourselves be dumbed down by our patronizing lexicographers any longer. We will not let them make things simple. We will spell the way spelling was meant to be done. Right. And, if not, we’ll always have the computer to do it for us. Gavin Shulman ’05 encourages you all to check out thebeirutleague.com.

JACK SWEENEY-TAYLOR

Small and separate Between its geographic and cultural diversity, the United States gives plenty of space for political enclaves, and in return finds the roots of its democratic process. Diverse accents and public rituals ranging from mule festivals to St. Paddy’s Day parades underlie a span of local politics that helps American individuals identify themselves in the party system. As Alexis de Tocqueville, the fashionable, if dated, commentator on American democracy, said, “The American attaches himself to his little community for the same reason that the mountaineer clings to his hills, because the characteristic features of his country are there more distinctly marked; it has a more striking physiognomy.” In Providence, the striking physiognomy this past fall included a 30 percent vote for Jeff Toste, the local Green Party Federal Hill waiter who ran valiantly for state senate in District Five. Beyond Buddy Cianci’s signature mayoral stint, Providence likes to flash its politics with sincere progressivism from time to time. Right now, State Sen. Rhoda Perry and Rep. Arthur Handy are reintroducing a bill to bring gay marriage to Rhode Island, with support from Marriage Equality Rhode Island as well as the Brown Democrats. The bill has 21 cosponsors in the House and Senate and Perry is hopeful that perseverance will push it through. Should it pass, Rhode Island will be the only state besides Massachusetts and California to allow gay marriage, and couples looking to hitch up will have reason to celebrate. But Jesse Adams ’07, a member of the Brown Democrats, notes that the decision to institute gay marriage in Rhode

Island may cause a fuss in national politics that could prove hazardous for Democrats (“Same-sex marriage issue threatens to set back progressive agenda,” March 9). “Important as this issue may be,” Adams says, “we as Democrats cannot allow a moral stand on one rela-

alarmingly jolt the chisel that crafts the face of the Democratic Party. I’d like to think this isn’t how democracy works. Sure, the country is stretched thin over red state-blue state opposition, and the last two nail-biting Presidential elections have sharpened our political

In the midst of partisan armament, perhaps heightened political self-awareness is part of effective campaigning. But a strict dedication to national partisanship threatens to strip local politics bare. Sweeping clean the sensitive issues from the fibers of national coalitions may wear out democratic self-interest in our communities. Where are we to find the seeds of new political ideals if not locally? tively small matter to stand in the way of the potential progress we can make on (other) key issues.” Adams’ letter suggests that a decision in Rhode Island based on social values could roil into the thick of America’s tensions. According to this sentiment, local politics sometimes must step aside for larger partisan strategies. While a vote for gay marriage in Rhode Island would represent the will of Rhode Islanders, perhaps it would also

watchfulness. In the midst of partisan armament, perhaps heightened political self-awareness is part of effective campaigning. But a strict dedication to national partisanship threatens to strip local politics bare. Sweeping clean the sensitive issues from the fibers of national coalitions may wear out democratic self-interest in our communities. Where are we to find the seeds of new political ideals if not locally?

Cultivating regional values and enacting them through policy is the core of America’s hallowed popular sovereignty. It’s what de Tocqueville praises about American patriotism, which, he says, feeds itself on the “ritual observance” of rights and duties at the site of town and city. Rhode Island, tucked into the corner of the Northeast, is small enough to offer its residents a go at letter-writing campaigns, mass marches and capitol demonstrations with a good chance for a political response. The state can turn its principles into legislation easier and faster than most, and let some of its own resolute progressivism swell from the ground up. In instances when local politics reinforce more oppression than individual liberty, the federal government may be crucial in rebalancing the scales of democracy. The Brown vs. Board Supreme Court decision that “separate” is “inherently unequal” continues to prove fundamental in regional politics, including cases like San Francisco’s recent ruling that a ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. Even so, personal ideals and community needs ask us to take local matters on our own terms as they come along, and whenever we can, define our regional democratic niches for ourselves. Rhode Island’s ability to find expediency on local progressive issues proves that it’s better to keep our communities separate, and equally active, in the work of advancing issues past the nation’s sluggish debates. Jack Sweeney-Taylor ’06 wants to stay still but can’t.

Monday, March 21, 2005  

The March 21, 2005 issue of the Brown Daily Herald

Monday, March 21, 2005  

The March 21, 2005 issue of the Brown Daily Herald