Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How To Create A Megan McArdle

A Family Affair [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

From a $100 contributor to NRO's spring fund drive:

My husband and I frequently comment on what we've read on NRO in a given day around our little girls — a 2 1/2 year old and a 9-month old. The message seems to be sinking in — at dinner the other night, the oldest announced to great laughter that President "Bama" (as she calls him) wanted to take the M&Ms she worked hard for away to give to boys and girls who didn't earn them)! "And that's not very nice!" she emphasized, wagging her finger no.

I know $100 isn't much, but I want to do my part to make sure NRO is still around when my daughters are old enough to read. It has been invaluable to my husband and I and will be to them, too. In an ever changing, crazy world, it's comforting to have an anchor to keep us grounded! Thanks, NRO!

Give to NRO — making the world safe for M&Ms ..... ? Maybe run that line buy your 2 1/2 year old?


Downpuppy said...

They have a 2 year old "working hard" to earn M & Ms?1

I can't translate that into an Earth language.

Susan of Texas said...

Typical libertaian toddler. She's given M&Ms by her parents and thinks she earned them.

Emily said...

If NRO is so great, how come it needs donations?

Susan of Texas said...

That seems kind of socialist, doesn't it? In a free market, someone who makes a product that doesn't make money should go out of business. Why should our hard-earned money pay for Jonah's beer or K-Lo's Bobble-head Jesuses?

Clever Pseudonym said...

"It has been invaluable to my husband and I..."

Clearly she's taking a page from K-Lo's school of grammar...that's "my husband and ME," sugar.

bulbul said...


please please please don't tell me you are a grammar nazi and/or have a copy of Strunk and White and consult it regularly on matters of grammar and style.

Clever Pseudonym said...

I try to keep it under control and not march around the internet with a red pen, but every chance I have to point out what massive idiots these people are, I'll take it.

bulbul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bulbul said...


and more power to you.

The problem is that the structure in question - preposition x and y where x, y or both are pronouns in - is not, for lack of a better word, an error. It was used by Defoe, Twain, Pepys and even Shakespeare. Who are we to argue with them?
MWDEU 1989 (the latest version I have on hand) has the following to say on the subject:

"Conclusion: you are probably safe in retaining between you and I in your casual speech, if it exists there naturally, and you would be true to life in placing it in the mouths of fictional characters. But you had better avoid it in essays and other works of a discursive nature. If you use it, someone is sure to notice and disparage your character, background, or education. What is more, it seems to have no place in modern edited prose."

Susan of Texas said...

When it is the subject of the sentence you use "I." When it's the object of a sentence, you use "we."

I (subject) want (verb) cookies (object of the action; what is wanted).
My husband and I (subject) want (verb) cookies (direct object).

It (subject) has been invaluable to my husband and me (object; that is, objective pronoun).

The fail-safe check is to remove the second noun/pronoun.

It has been invaluable to me.

Not "It has been invaluable to I."

When the subject and object are the same, both are considered subjects.

The speaker was I.

Non-standard usage in this instance is so common, however, that it's accepted as standard.

The speaker was me.

McArdle has an English degree and should know this. Her editor, if she has one (which I doubt), should automatically correct such mistakes.

When I took Grammar in college, they told us English rules were based on Latin rules, and you end up with a ton of rules that don't make any sense, like don't end a sentence with a preposition, which you can do in English but not Latin, although it often looks awkward. The professor said that even experts don't agree on the rules, which also change a great deal over time.

It's not one of her more important areas of malpractice, but it sure does make me laugh that she managed to get an English degree without mastering subject and object. She obviously did her very best to learn as little as possible.

bulbul said...


When it's the object of a sentence, you use "we."
I think you mean "me". And there is no such thing as an "object of a sentence". The terms object and subject describe the relationship to the predicate, not to the sentence.
But yes, that is essentially true. Except in coordinated objects (x and y) and elsewhere, the nominative and the oblique case of the second plural have been used interchangeably since Early Modern English times and as MWDEU confirms, there ain't nothing wrong with it in most contexts.

When the subject and object are the same, both are considered subjects.
Forgive me, but this is pure nonsense. First, in your example and analysis, the subject and object are not the same. Subject = "The speaker". Object = "I". Second, your analysis is incorrect. While the NP "The speaker" is the subject, "I" is subject a complement. And once again, either nominative and oblique case pronouns can be used in this function, as many examples by educated native speakers of English throughout the ages show.

Non-standard usage in this instance
Like a wise man once said - whose standard?

they told us English rules were based on Latin rules
They meant the bad nonsensical rules, like the one with the preposition at the end, the one with the split infinitive or the one we're arguing about right now. Zombie rules.

The bottom line: there oh so many things wrong with both Megan's and K-Lo's English. Their use of nominative case pronouns in coordinate objects is not one of them.

Susan of Texas said...

I'll dig out my grammar books and get some newer ones; this is what I was taught and I'm not surprised that some might be wrong, or that I misunderstood or forgot some rules.

I am starting to go to teaching job fairs and (I hope) interviews, so I need to quickly brush up on what I've forgotten.

Downpuppy said...

Good Luck!

My cousin from Houston just retired from her HS teaching job, so there's at least one opening for a Spanish teacher.

bulbul said...


I recommend this one.
Good luck with the job hunting, kids these days could hardly do better than you as a teacher.

Roger Ailes said...

The real abortion in that Corner post is all K-Lo:

"Maybe run that line buy your 2 1/2 year old?"

K-Lo is a closet homonymsexual.

Susan of Texas said...

Thanks, Downpuppy and Bulbul.

K-Lo couldn't have made such a silly mistake--she's an editor, after all. Obviously she means two year olds should be bought and sold, perhaps by kindly priests who are extremely fond of children.