Thursday, March 15, 2007

"I'm sure you're aware that..."

Yes, I know the headline of the article is "How Come We're Stupider Than a '5th Grader'?". Yes, I know that "stupider" is not, in fact, a word. But as I've mentioned to several emailers and commenters now,

1) there's this little thingy-thing called irony

2) the copy editor of the website is the one who created the irony, not me. I know this. I used to be a copy editor. Oh, awesome, more irony! I have emailed with a request to take away the irony so that none of us are confused anymore. We are now dumber than a fifth grader.

Man, sometimes I really wish my soccer career had taken off.

yes, I know "thingy" is NOT A WORD EITHER at:


cousin alicia said...

Psssss.... my mom was a college professor and she had me grade her papers when I was in eighth grade. Just say'n.

Anonymous said...

Eh, in fact, "stupider" is the correct inflected form of the word "stupid." (See:

In English, (generally) words of two syllables or less are inflected by adding -er/-est -- even when the result is awkward. Use "more/most" with words greater than three syllables.

The nuns taught me that in second grade. I suppose it was the ruler across my knuckles which has enabled me to retain it lo! these four decades.

retterson said...

Gosh, I hate to be the one with the Merriam-Webster bookmark and all -- but Merriam-Webster recognizes "thingy" as a word as well.


MB said...

Please also check under "sarcasm" and "RELAX IT'S A FREAKING JOKE OMG."

g said...

The reason 5th graders are smarter than the adults is that the adults are busy with full time jobs, maybe two, paying the bills, getting dinner , figuring out our taxes, and all the other things an adult must navigate on a daily basis. The 5th graders are supposed to know this stuff, they go the SCHOOL five days a week, by the way, how many 5th graders can explain the five sections or a gas turbine engine and how the engine works to generate thrust, how does that relate to an aircraft flying, lift, drag, thrust and weight???

Ashley said...

hey anything that gets everyone to quit arguing about religion! and this from a former English teacher!

MB said...

I'm with Ashley :)

Anonymous said...

I'd love to comment on some of the comments in here, but i will use some restraint. MB, i'd like you to know that i've never commented on an MSNBC article before but yours was so masterfully crafted that i feel like i owe you something for the outloud laughs you gave me. I was suprised to find that you were a female, and i imagine you are fiesty one at that, but please keep writing how you write. oh yeah, im a 26 year old male if you want to know, and i'll take the stripper with the dictionary on the left.

Ok so now that i've given you your praise, heres an english question for you. Since 'Merriam-Webster' dictionary adds words every year that are not "proper english" but are instead COMMONLY USED words, then arent all of these english fuddy duddies wasting their time saying "thats not a real word"... because really, what is language? if everyone who read your article knew what stupider and thinggy meant then wheres the problem? And better yet, why fight against the evolution of language? You can tout your english degree all day long, if you start using words that are too big for your average person, then you're not going to effectivley communicate with anyone other than your higher education cronies, which means you'll be not communicating with 90% of the world. Good job guy, you wanted to be proper soo bad that you alienated yourself. Thats what me thinks about that.

MB said...

Oh, thank you, anon, that made my day :) I understand that "d'oh" is now in the dictionary under "exclamation".

It's interesting that we should be engaged in this discussion right now. Just this morning I did a class for my tech writing students about definitions and how important it is to have the correct, precise meaning of a word for the audience at hand. This includes, of course, an openness to discussion of how the word is evolving. "Splashdown," for instance, since we no longer use spacecraft that land this way, is now all but extinct only 30 years after the last Apollo flight.

Nitpickers see themselves (and I have been known to nitpick myself) as protectors of the language, especially in an IM-text era; I regularly get emails from college students entirely without capitalization or fully formed sentences. Somebody has to worry about it :)

SusannahS said...

MB, you are a doll. Don't let the naysayers get you down. I, for one, greatly enjoy reading your blog & your articles. Language is words roll in, old words roll out.
(And as far as I'm concerned, "thingie" (or thingy) has been a word for quite some time! And my baby brothers have long since argued over who was "stupider" before deciding that our dog was the "stupidest" member of the household.)

Anonymous said...

Okay. I can only say "huh?"

Is the irony of your post the fact that you claim two words aren't words when they are?

And why are you shouting at me?

Loved your MSNBC article.

I'd add that part of the problem with stupid Americans is this notion that it's perfectly acceptable to get one's shorts in a knot when someone else points out that her facts might be wrong. This means that stupidity is perpetuated, ignornance reigns and those with some semblance of knowledge and intelligence are made dumb.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I was defending your (and the copyeditor's) right to use words that convey meaning despite what wordinistas might have to say about it.

The essence of language is communication. If a set of letters combine to have meaning, then a word is formed. That it's in M-W merely conveys it's a word that a writer can expect to be understood.

MB said...

I'm going to drink now. Who's with me?

stealth reader in texas said...

Great article! Excuse me, but it was HA HA HA HA HA laugh-out-loud freakin' hilarious! For those who wrote-in to complain about the use of "stupider" (the very same ones that slept through the "What is irony?" part of English), I've only got one thing to say: res ipsa loqutor.

Josh The Pilot said...

26 year old male anon,
You're right MB is fiesty, in the best way possible, and that's why I'm marrying her! :-)

the buxom wench said...

I'm with you, MB :). I'll bring the Grant Burge :).

Rochelle said...

I was reading the news on msnbc and stumbled across that article and loved it! I was quoting it to friends and laughed out loud while reading. I didn't even see that it was yours until I checked Good job! I just about died when I read that part about picking Doritos out of our fat folds and Randy saying dawg. I love your sassy commentary.

mike was mercilessly teased said...

Anon: I was suprised to find that you were a female

With a name like "Mary Beth," I'm not sure what was confusing you. Unless you thought M.B. was a boy who was just mercilessly teased in grade school.

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