Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What I am Reading This Morning

The New York Times' grammar blogger Philip Corbett on Subjunctivitis - the recurring dilemma in the English language of trying to use a verb form that doesn't really exist, or, at least, is being slowly pushed into oblivion. But I think that Corbett does a nice job of explaining the dos and don'ts of the subjunctive, and pointing out how even professional journalists often get it wrong.

CQ Politics posted an article last night on the Oregon Senate race between Gordon Smith and Jeff Merkley, and how that race has remained very tight going into the home stretch before election day. In terms of political press, Oregon has gotten a little spoiled lately. We were relevant in the presidential primaries for the first time in, like, forever, and, even though we're not a swing state this year like we were in '00 and '04, this Senate race is becoming extremely important as the Democrats try to build a fillubuster proof majority. And I, for one, am hoping for a Merkley upset, even though (a) Smith does have a record of working with Democrats and (b) Merkley has two hands. President Obama is just going to need that super-majority in order to push through (quickly) bills dealing with rebuilding our infrastructure, developing renewable energy, and achieving universal healthcare.

And, finally, Crooked Timber has this picture from a "George Salter designed cover for a 1930 German edition of Dos Passos’ The 42nd Parallel." (It's pretty funny. I think my favorite line from the blogger's is "I don't know what army is invading Chicago.") In the 20's and 30's, Germans went nuts for American Western/ Frontier narratives, epitomized by the fictional-autobiographical writings of "Old Shatterhand" Karl May. And I'm not sure that the craze has even passed: A few weeks ago, I was at the Art Institute in the "Western Art" room, which was filled with oil paintings and bronze sculptures from the early 20th Century depicting "authentic" Western life. There were two German women in the room with me, and they were soooo excited to be there. The security guard even had to shoo them away after one of the ladies started 'petting' a bronze-cast Indian pony.

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