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Pet Peeve #2,515 (aka Pet Peeve #2)

Hello, what year is this? I finally got the Whitney to send emails to me as well as Johnny as part of our dual membership. Today we were addressed as "Dear Mr. and Ms. Stanton." What the fuck. My name is all over my email. My name is my name. Where the fuck did they come up with this "Mr. & Ms." business. Oh, am I supposed to be happy that they didn't call me Mrs. Stanton? Did they program their computer in 1950? Unbelievable! We pay hundreds of dollars & they can't get my name straight? For that matter, the name on my card is Glinor. 

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Pet Peeve #1: Remember the ladies

Despite the overturning of Roe, women & women's issues come after "more important" concerns. To some extent, yes, Dems have been running on repro rights but not when anything else seemed likely to work. So the man who won in my new Congressional district is shaky (at best) on reproductive rights. But who cares? He's a white man! He helped impeach tRump (like that did any good)!


The paternalism all around me, in politics & in my personal life, has been infuriating me. Suddenly the men around me are telling me what I must be feeling & planning & thinking, what I should do about things I'm in charge of that have nothing to do with them. All these gratuitous assumptions! All this mansplaining! Is it new or did I glide past it? I think it's ageism to go with the sexism, actually. I have gray (white?) hair so obviously I am incompetent. 

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Pet Peeve #697

If the connection is poor, most people tell you it's your phone, you should move, you should hang up & try again. Hey, maybe it's you! Or more likely, it's probably no one's doing & the gods of phone calls are making mischief. What's the point of aiming a pointless accusation at the other caller?

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What's in a NAME

If I spell my name idiosyncratically, say, ELINor nauEN or eLiNoR nAuEn, & maybe even legally change it to that, is every place that publishes me required to follow my whim? Even if a sentence begins with my name, would it have to start with a lower case letter because that's how I prefer it? Isn't there some egotism in refusing standard capitalization by spelling one's name with all lower letters? What stands out in a sentence such as this: "John Smith, Jane Thorogood Doe, and bob thomson met for dinner two nights ago."


There's the argument that I, the editor, should abide by the person's desires. "...[I]t's my name and i should be able to frame it as i see fit... Why must it follow some New York Times standard guide for naming?" says danah[sic] michele[sic] boyd[sic]. 


Someone named Idris Mercer is cranky as hell but like him, standard English is a pet peeve of mine. In a piece from 2005, he writes: 

If you ask to be called "Dawn" rather than "Kathryn," it's like you belong to a chess club where the various sets of chess pieces don't quite look identical, and you ask to use one particular set because you think its rooks have a nicer shape. But if you ask to be called "kathryn" rather than "Kathryn" -- and everyone else's name is capitalized -- then it's more like you belong to the chess club and you ask that your rooks be allowed to move in a different way from everyone else's rooks... One of the comments from "On the difficult matter of names" puts it quite well: "My personal feeling is that one should be permitted control over the spelling and pronunciation* of one's own name up to the point that the name does not start taking over its immediate environment."


Slate copyeditor Abby McIntyre writes: 

But in standard print, capitalizing these proper names is not an act of violence nor of authoritarianism nor of betrayal. It is simply an attempt at clarity. "Capitalization is part of the social convention for writing English," writes Bill Poser at the Language Log. When a reader opens up an article or a blog post here at Slate or elsewhere, she does so with the expectation that it will conform to these "social conventions" of written English—certain norms and syntactic cues that will help digest the information therein as easily as possible. Capitalization is one of those cues. When I capitalize Danah Boyd or Bell Hooks, it's not meant as an affront on those women but as an overture to the reader.


Our job as writers and editors is to make things as easy and clear for the reader. If the writer knows what they mean, but I get tangled up in it, I ask them to clarify. Of course I'm excepting style choices (dialect, for example) etc, but that has to be consistent. I object to finding a single ELINOR or paul bobbing in a sea of Johnnys, Maggies, and Georges.



* I acknowledge the political aspect of this topic...

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Pet peeve VI: Broke is broke—poor is something else

When I was in my 20s I often said I was poor. After all, I was living on $15 a week, hitchhiking everywhere, eating abandoned commodity foods like kasha & powdered milk. I wasn't complaining: I loved getting by on very little, the feeling that my needs would always be met because they were so moderate.

And then I realized that I wasn't poor.  Read More 
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Pet peeve III

If I invite you to my birthday dinner, why should you pay? You are my guest.

I know people do this routinely, so that's not actually my pet peeve. (If I don't want to subsidize other people's shindigs, I don't eat, just stop in to say hi.)

But if you invite me  Read More 
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