Obama’s embarrassing friends, enormity, nauseous

I hope Tom’s new blog category, “Embarrassing things white people say about Obama,” is going to be a recurring feature. You won’t regret checking out the first two entries, courtesy of Leon Wieseltier and Judith Warner. Regarding the latter: I, too, was going to bellyache about BO’s use of “enormity” in his victory speech, but decided it would make me look like the kind of guy who notices grammar glitches while I’m supposed to be watching history go by. Thank God for Tom, who just doesn’t care if he looks like that kind of guy, which is to say the kind of guy that he, like me, is.

That reminds me of this reminiscence of David Foster Wallace and his advocacy for rigid adherence to the usage rules of his childhood — a stance only a great writer could make charming.

At the end of the hour, he told us that if we were going to remember one thing, just one thing, from his workshop, it would be that we (as a society of grammatically impaired citizens) always used the word “nauseous” wrong. When we said “nauseous” we really meant “nauseated.” And that was it.

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3 thoughts on “Obama’s embarrassing friends, enormity, nauseous

  1. Ben says:

    I think we should give all involved a pass on enormity. See the discussion in Webster.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enormity

  2. Xander Faber says:

    I like the direction of nitpicking we’re headed in for the next 4 years. It’s definitely a step forward to begin discussing grammar and connotation, and to leaved behind issues of pronunciation. ( e.g., “noo-khuh-lur” )

  3. elkabong61 says:

    I say, “let’s give Obama a pass on this one.” We’ve given him a pass on everything else. Why mess up a good thing?

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