Good article, bad editing

Good article, bad editing

The Boston Globe has added to the list of media outlets doing interviews of Christopher Blosser and the Ratzinger Fan Club web site. Good for him, I’m glad he’s getting the publicity and the traffic which can only be good for all Catholic bloggers.

However, I’m mainly writing to nitpick the Globe‘s really bad writing and editing.

Nitpick Alert!

Check out the following direct quote in the first sentence of the penultimate paragraph.

“He must of been impressed by him and put up this website,” said Philip Blosser, who converted to Catholicism in 1996, one year before his son.

What’s wrong with this sentence? “Must of”? Don’t they mean “Must have”?

Obviously, Philip Blosser said “must have” and the reporter wrote down “must of”. I see this very common grammatical error all the time, especially in email and on web sites. Ask Melanie about it: She sees this in her freshman English composition papers. But in a major metropolitan newspaper? The English language is deteriorating fast, folks. Pretty soon we’ll be communicating only with IM lingo: “C U l8r, k?”

  • Because of the culture wars, people confuse conservatism, willingness to go to war and tradition.  Indeed many people cannot define one without recourse to the other two.  We are poverty stricken for concepts these days.

  • I find it reassuring that, at this troubled time in history, the Papcy continues to be held by someone who has a nuanced experience of war. This, it would seem, is the real importance of Benedict’s involuntary membership in the Hitlerjugend and his participation as a Luftwaffenhilfer.  He understands what it is to be drawn into the machinery that would foment a manifestly unjust war, has endured the agony of attempting to defend his country against the enemies of its wanton aggression, and was keenly aware of how at least some of these opposing forces, despite the morality of their cause, could engage in dubious practices—such as the RAF Bomber Command’s nighttime bombings, that even the radar technology of the time allowed targets no smaller than cities, or even the more explicitly terrorist tactics of the US atomic attacks on Japanese population centers.

    Even some 60 years later, these are not simple, black and white issues, but subtle and complex questions that demand fearless contemplation and the rigorous application of fundamental values persuasively articulated. The same applies perhaps even more to the Iraq War and other current or potential applications of lethal military power.

    Whether one hopes, as I do, that Benedict will not shy away from addressing issues of economic injustice, even as he places a priority on evangelical revival, he will have, at least at the outset of his pontificate, a potentially very persuasive position in addressing issues of war and peace based on his own biography.


  • Tony, I’m glad you’re looking for nuanced experience and persuasive articulation, because you’ve obviously not found them yet.

    2005-04-24 16:41:15
    2005-04-24 20:41:15
    First, while I agree that this pontificate is unlikely to focus on economic issues, it is also true that the spread of the Gospel is not necessarily unrelated to economic issues. (I’m not implying that your post denied this—I’m just noting that this is the case.)

    Secondly, on the question of the Pope’s views on just war, the statesments you quoted should at a minimum be balanced by acknowledging that Pope Benedict XVI when he was Cardinal Ratzinger seemed pretty clear about his own view of the Iraq war, and about his understanding of JP II’s view of the war. First of all, of course, there is the quote from Cardinal Ratzinger referenced by Rob. More specifically, in response to a question about whether the Iraq war was justified, Cardinal Ratzinger responded in part: “The Pope expressed his thought with great clarity, not only as his individual thought but as the thought of a man who is knowledgeable in the highest functions of the Catholic Church. … The Holy Father’s judgment is also convincing from the rational point of view: There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq.” I personally am delighted at the election of Benedict XVI—if I myself could have picked a cardinal to be elected, I would have picked him. At the same time, it seems to me that the just war issue is indeed a potential source of dissatisfaction with the new Pope among some “conservative” Catholics.

  • Help me out here, Chris, as I’m not sure I get your meaning.  As an Episcopalian, I would hardly presume to tell Benedict what he needs to say—within or without the Catholic Church.  But I do feel I can offer an opinion about what aspects of his background might make his views persuasive to a broad audience.

  • Let’s just say I take issue with your use of 21st century rhetoric when addressing an early 20th-century moral dilemma.  Let’s call the crusades a “hate crime” while we’re at it.

  • Chris,

    What are you accusing Tony of? I think what he said was perfectly appropriate. Perhaps you misunderstood what he meant by “nuanced experience of war.” Nuance is a word that has been much abused and misused, but Tony used it here entirely appropriately.