Author Topic: Grammar is a clue  (Read 17099 times)

Frankenfan

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Grammar is a clue
« on: October 21, 2007, 12:24:20 PM »
:wink:

Several of the non-Franken quotations stand out because of grammar errors. Even critics must agree that Franken is literate.

Mikhail Simkin

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Grammar is a clue
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2007, 01:37:18 AM »
I checked the results database and the highest score on October 21st was 80%. I wonder: what would have been without grammatic errors (I corrected at least some of them since)? Our Frankenfan would have been lost.

mtgradwell

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Re: Grammar is a clue
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 03:21:33 PM »
I got 80% just now, but it should have been 100%. It would have been 100% if I'd thought about it just a little more.

The grammar of the Simkin answers isn't too bad now, but still needs improvement. For instance in #1,
 
"Similar to Osama bin Laden, who depends in his metabolism on a dialysis machine, George W. Bush depends on Karl Rove in his thinking."

depends *in* looks clumsy. We depend *on* something *for* something else. There are "on"s there, but the first one (the first "on") has become detached from the "depends" that it depends on. There isn't a "for" in sight, for there are "in"s in there instead. And so on.  :)

However the real problem is a lot harder to fix. It's the humor deficiency. All five of your Franken quotes are funny, which is quite remarkable if you chose them at random, and says something about the genius of the man. But look at your "quip" above, for instance. A depends on B, and C depends on D, so A+B is similar to C+D. So what? Maybe I'll "get it" tomorrow, and split my sides laughing, but so far, nothing.

Where I went wrong was in not "getting" #4 straight away. Because I didn't see the humor in it, I put it down as a Simkin. Then when I got to #9 and #10 I had a problem. Both seemed unfunny, but knowing your penchant for balancing things out I thought that one of them must be a Franken (even Franken must have off-days, or so I thought), and so I made a random guess. If I had thought about it for just a moment longer I would have gone back over previous answers and discovered my mistake.

If previous takers of the test scored badly, that suggests to me that many of them had a poor opinion of Franken for one reason or another. They expected him to be unfunny, so they guessed that the unfunny answers were Franken's.

By contrast, with the Coulter test, I was completely lost and scored something very low. You imitated her style perfectly, and all ten answers were equally unfunny. There really was nothing at all to choose between them.


Mikhail Simkin

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Re: Grammar is a clue
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 07:18:19 PM »
I got 80% just now, but it should have been 100%. It would have been 100% if I'd thought about it just a little more.
Not that much, given that random guessing would give 50%,  and that the probability to get 80% by pure chance is 4.4%. Alitle below the standard 5% significance threshold. All one can say is that your guessing was not completely random. Your score hardly justifies the attitude you afford.

The grammar of the Simkin answers isn't too bad now, but still needs improvement. For instance in #1,
 
"Similar to Osama bin Laden, who depends in his metabolism on a dialysis machine, George W. Bush depends on Karl Rove in his thinking."

depends *in* looks clumsy. We depend *on* something *for* something else. There are "on"s there, but the first one (the first "on") has become detached from the "depends" that it depends on. There isn't a "for" in sight, for there are "in"s in there instead. And so on.  :)
That phrase is correct. You can find similar examples in literature.

Quote
Plato, who places so high an emphasis on provable truth, depends, in his theory of forms, on sheer assertion.
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-us%3AIE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7ADBR_en&q=%22depends+in+his%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

Really clumsy are your attempts at criticism.

However the real problem is a lot harder to fix. It's the humor deficiency. All five of your Franken quotes are funny, which is quite remarkable if you chose them at random, and says something about the genius of the man.
I read two books by Franken, looking for something, which may pass as a joke, and did not find enough. Had to look into the third. What you see in the test is the best from his 2.5 books.

But look at your "quip" above, for instance. A depends on B, and C depends on D, so A+B is similar to C+D. So what? Maybe I'll "get it" tomorrow, and split my sides laughing, but so far, nothing.
Don't see how your ABCD is related to the phrase you refer to.

Where I went wrong was in not "getting" #4 straight away. Because I didn't see the humor in it, I put it down as a Simkin. Then when I got to #9 and #10 I had a problem. Both seemed unfunny, but knowing your penchant for balancing things out I thought that one of them must be a Franken (even Franken must have off-days, or so I thought), and so I made a random guess. If I had thought about it for just a moment longer I would have gone back over previous answers and discovered my mistake.
Funny or unfunny strongly depends on the beholder, but #9 was a clear give away. You need to know windsurfing to make that observation. Franken doesn't. Such people don't.

If previous takers of the test scored badly, that suggests to me that many of them had a poor opinion of Franken for one reason or another. They expected him to be unfunny, so they guessed that the unfunny answers were Franken's.
That is not correct. The greatest Franken's fan ever, Frankenette, scored 60%

http://reverent.org/franken_or_simkin_feedback.html

By contrast, with the Coulter test, I was completely lost and scored something very low. You imitated her style perfectly, and all ten answers were equally unfunny. There really was nothing at all to choose between them.
I did not imitate Ann. Long before reading her books I already had those thoughts. Tens of millions of people find her jokes very funny. So if you don't laugh at mine it does not mean that nobody does.

mtgradwell

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Re: Grammar is a clue
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 03:38:42 PM »
"..guessing would give 50%,  and that the probability to get 80% by pure chance is 4.4%. .. All one can say is that your guessing was not completely random. Your score hardly justifies the attitude you afford."

But I was there. If I had guessed, I would surely remember doing so. And I did guess, and I do remember doing so, but only on questions 9 and 10 when I had the mistaken notion that one of them must be by Franken despite them being equally unfunny. I even remember saying as much.

"That phrase is correct. You can find similar examples in literature.

Quote
Plato, who places so high an emphasis on provable truth, depends, in his theory of forms, on sheer assertion."

That "in" arises because Plato's sheer assertion is physically located in his theory of forms, i.e. it is a part of that book. Can Bin Laden be physically located in his metabolism, or can George Bush be located in his thinking? The clear and obviously straightforward formulation would have been "Similar to Osama bin Laden, who depends on a dialysis machine for his metabolism, George W. Bush depends on Karl Rove for his thinking". That uses the same pattern in both halves of the sentence, facilitating comparison, and furthermore it is the standard and easily comprehended pattern X depends on Y for Z. If you were absolutely set on having an "in", you could have added "in Afghanistan" or "in Pakistan" after "dialysis machine".

"I read two books by Franken, looking for something, which may pass as a joke, and did not find enough. Had to look into the third. What you see in the test is the best from his 2.5 books."

I'm glad of that. It means I don't need to feel so bad about adversely comparing your attempts at humor to Franken's. Franken, when he wrote his books, was a professional humorist and had been for years. Furthermore, he was one of the most successful and well-known humorists in the world. He probably put an awful lot of time and effort into those books and then, you say, you cherry-picked them looking for things "which may pass as a joke". And you think you can grab an envelope and spend a few minutes scribbling on the back of it, or whatever it is that you did, and produce something which is indistinguishable from that distillation of years of effort by a professional? That is what is known as hubris. It would be hubris even if you had an understanding of humor.

"Don't see how your ABCD is related to the phrase you refer to."

A is "Osama bin Laden", B is "a dialysis machine", C is "George W. Bush", D is "Karl Rove". So, as I said, A depends on B ("Osama bin Laden" depends on "a dialysis machine"), and C depends on D ("George W. Bush" depends on "Karl Rove"), so A+B  is similar to C+D. Is that clear now? More importantly, is it hilarious? Are you rolling around on the floor and laughing uncontrollably, now that your own "joke" has been explained to you in such meticulous detail?

"Funny or unfunny strongly depends on the beholder, but #9 was a clear give away. You need to know windsurfing to make that observation. Franken doesn't. Such people don't."

I'm not an expert on Franken. I don't know if he knows anything about windsurfing or not. I was looking for humor. What we have in #9 is a piece of pedantic nitpicking, which might be found funny but only by a pedantic nitpicker.

If you want further explanation of why your efforts fall down:
#4 is not only unfunny, it is borderline racist. Even if Franken did come up with such a quip, it would certainly be slapped down by his editor or publisher.
#6 is a non-sequitur train wreck. "the argument that one can't pass judgements on military men, if one didn't himself serve in the military" seems to be about the rights of ordinary people to judge those whose experiences they do not share. Ditto with part 2, about movie viewers and actors. But with part 3, "what if one was five times drafted by Hollywood and got five deferrals?" - what ordinary member of the public was ever five times drafted by Hollywood or got five deferrals?
and #10 we have more pedantic nitpicking; since there is more than one way that something can be "the opposite" of something else, both points of view about the antichrist can be said to have some validity, and to favor one interpretation while ridiculing someone who chooses the other one, without giving any actual reason for that stance, is just nonsense.

If you want further explanation of why Franken's efforts don't fall down:
#2 is funny because not only is it true but it is actually somewhat understated; there's no evidence, as far as I know, that Hussein ever met bin Laden at all; and it is ironic, given what happened in 2003 and the justifications that were made then.
#3 is again steeped in irony, first with the contrast between "healthy" and "gone" (the latter word being substituted where a lesser scribe might have written "worse", and where a reader would surely expect to come across something like that; it's the contrast between expectation and actuality that makes it funny) and then with the wordplay on "clear skies", playing with two different meanings of that phrase.
#4 - I'm not American, and I know Gore even less than I know Franken, so the references to "Love Canal" and "Love Story" were lost on me. They still are. Maybe I'll look them up later. But I should have "got" this one from the reference to the internet alone. Gore never actually claimed to have invented the Internet, and he did play a large part in the funding and building up of it, which is all that he actually did claim. Hence his (so-called) "lies" were true, unlike those of Bush.
#7 is a real gem. The image it paints of a put-upon Colmes, not only being dumped upon on-screen but also having to do all the chores afterwards, makes it hard for the reader not to feel sorry for him.
#8's humor comes mainly from the way Franken talks down to Sean, as if addressing a child: "Well, Sean, fuel-burning SUVs burn fuel". There's also the twist at the end, where flag-burning is seen as producing a stream of revenue for the flag producers, who are our allies. Not an argument which would occur to most, and it is this unexpectedness which makes it funny.

In short, your efforts have the "form" of jokes but not the actual content. Franken's efforts really are jokes, even if the humor is lost on some. It's like putting up five extracts from genuine scientific papers against five produced by context-free grammar generators, except most people have the aptitude needed to recognise a genuine joke even if they lack the scientific background needed to recognise a genuine scientific paper.

"I did not imitate Ann. Long before reading her books I already had those thoughts."

Regardless of how it happened, your style was very similar to Anne's. I would put it down to you both having a weak grasp of what humor actually is, or is supposed to be. You say "tens of millions of people find her jokes very funny", but she has never written a joke that I know of. She writes insults, which are not the same thing.

Mikhail Simkin

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Re: Grammar is a clue
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 07:15:32 PM »
That "in" arises because Plato's sheer assertion is physically located in his theory of forms, i.e. it is a part of that book. Can Bin Laden be physically located in his metabolism, or can George Bush be located in his thinking?
Why should Bush be located in his thinking? You wrote that Plato's assertion was located in his theory of forms. Similarly, Bush's assertions can be  in his thinking, or Bin Ladin's enzymes participate in his metabolism.

I'm glad of that. It means I don't need to feel so bad about adversely comparing your attempts at humor to Franken's. Franken, when he wrote his books, was a professional humorist and had been for years. Furthermore, he was one of the most successful and well-known humorists in the world. He probably put an awful lot of time and effort into those books and then, you say, you cherry-picked them looking for things "which may pass as a joke". And you think you can grab an envelope and spend a few minutes scribbling on the back of it, or whatever it is that you did, and produce something which is indistinguishable from that distillation of years of effort by a professional? That is what is known as hubris.
The results of the test fully support the thesis that Franken's jokes are indistinguishable from my scribles. Just like the abstract art masterpieces.

It would be hubris even if you had an understanding of humor.
Isn't it hubris that you make such statements, after you made mistakes in the quiz?

A is "Osama bin Laden", B is "a dialysis machine", C is "George W. Bush", D is "Karl Rove". So, as I said, A depends on B ("Osama bin Laden" depends on "a dialysis machine"), and C depends on D ("George W. Bush" depends on "Karl Rove"), so A+B  is similar to C+D. Is that clear now? More importantly, is it hilarious? Are you rolling around on the floor and laughing uncontrollably, now that your own "joke" has been explained to you in such meticulous detail?
What you wrote does not make anything clear and is merely senseless verbosity.

I'm not an expert on Franken. I don't know if he knows anything about windsurfing or not. I was looking for humor. What we have in #9 is a piece of pedantic nitpicking, which might be found funny but only by a pedantic nitpicker.
I am also not an expert on Francken, but it is easy to understand that he does not windsurf. Just because such people don't. What you call a pedantic thinking is a mere believe that reality is important. The liberal worldview is based on denial of reality.

#4 is not only unfunny, it is borderline racist. Even if Franken did come up with such a quip, it would certainly be slapped down by his editor or publisher.
I know that. But it only made the test easier for you.  So your result is even more scandalous.

"what if one was five times drafted by Hollywood and got five deferrals?" - what ordinary member of the public was ever five times drafted by Hollywood or got five deferrals?
Apparently, you did not get it. Cheney was five times drafted by the military and got five deferrals. You need explanations, not me.

If you want further explanation of why Franken's efforts don't fall down:
#2 is funny because not only is it true but it is actually somewhat understated; there's no evidence, as far as I know, that Hussein ever met bin Laden at all; and it is ironic, given what happened in 2003 and the justifications that were made then.
What of it? My observation on windsurfing is also true. And Franken merely repeated what other people said before him many times.

Some interesting facts about Saddam are far less known. Through his lawyer he made a statement, that the description of his capture by the media is a fraud. He was in a house when they used a knockout gas. Unconscious he was put into that hole  and pulled out of it before cameras. The video of Saddam's  death gives a lot of credence to that his statement. If he indeed was captured as was shown by the media I would expect him to face death in a cowardly manner.

#3 is again steeped in irony, first with the contrast between "healthy" and "gone" (the latter word being substituted where a lesser scribe might have written "worse", and where a reader would surely expect to come across something like that; it's the contrast between expectation and actuality that makes it funny) and then with the wordplay on "clear skies", playing with two different meanings of that phrase.
#4 - I'm not American, and I know Gore even less than I know Franken, so the references to "Love Canal" and "Love Story" were lost on me. They still are. Maybe I'll look them up later. But I should have "got" this one from the reference to the internet alone. Gore never actually claimed to have invented the Internet, and he did play a large part in the funding and building up of it, which is all that he actually did claim. Hence his (so-called) "lies" were true, unlike those of Bush.
#7 is a real gem. The image it paints of a put-upon Colmes, not only being dumped upon on-screen but also having to do all the chores afterwards, makes it hard for the reader not to feel sorry for him.
#8's humor comes mainly from the way Franken talks down to Sean, as if addressing a child: "Well, Sean, fuel-burning SUVs burn fuel". There's also the twist at the end, where flag-burning is seen as producing a stream of revenue for the flag producers, who are our allies. Not an argument which would occur to most, and it is this unexpectedness which makes it funny.

In short, your efforts have the "form" of jokes but not the actual content. Franken's efforts really are jokes, even if the humor is lost on some. It's like putting up five extracts from genuine scientific papers against five produced by context-free grammar generators, except most people have the aptitude needed to recognise a genuine joke even if they lack the scientific background needed to recognise a genuine scientific paper.
The lady doth protest too much methinks.

Regardless of how it happened, your style was very similar to Anne's. I would put it down to you both having a weak grasp of what humor actually is, or is supposed to be. You say "tens of millions of people find her jokes very funny", but she has never written a joke that I know of. She writes insults, which are not the same thing.
Franken also writes insults. The one you quoted insults Colmes and you are laughing. Ann's jokes insult you. So you don't find them funny. But very many people do.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 01:14:12 PM by Mikhail Simkin »

mtgradwell

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Re: Grammar is a clue
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2010, 04:47:23 AM »
"You wrote that Plato's assertion was located in his theory of forms. Similarly, Bush's assertions can be  in his thinking, or Bin Ladin's enzymes participate in his metabolism. "

Your "joke" said nothing about Bush's assertions, or bin Laden's enzymes. You're really stretching now, to defend a point which should be conceded. Anyway, for it to actually be a joke, there would have to be some conceivable reason why people would find it funny.

"The results of the test fully support the thesis that Franken's jokes are indistinguishable from my scribles."

Already explained. If previous takers of the test scored badly, that suggests to me that many of them had a poor opinion of Franken for one reason or another. They expected him to be unfunny, so they guessed that the unfunny answers were Franken's.

"Isn't it hubris that you make such statements, after you made mistakes in the quiz?"

No. Thinking that people can only make valid points if they are always 100% correct, and that all of your own points are necessarily valid (implying that you are always 100% correct), that is hubris. I've already explained how I made the mistakes, and won't repeat myself. It's all up above.

"I am also not an expert on Francken, but it is easy to understand that he does not windsurf. "

What does that have to do with whether an alleged joke about windsurfing is actually funny or not? What is it about the alleged joke which is supposed to make it funny?

"I know that. But it only made the test easier for you.  So your result is even more scandalous."

There was a dead giveaway in the test, making it all but certain that I would get that particular question right, and I *did* get that question right. How, precisely, does that make my result even more scandalous?

OK, I'll concede that my result was scandalous, but that is because there were actually five dead giveaways in the test, and not just one, so I should have got 10/10. I failed to spot the humor in #4 until after I had pressed submit, and for that I am at fault. Mea culpa. But there is humor in there, even though I initially failed to spot it. I still fail to see the humor in any of the Simkin "jokes".

"Franken also writes insults. The one you quoted insults Colmes and you are laughing. "

The joke insults Colmes and his employers in equal measure. His employers, for pretending to be "fair and balanced" while employing only one token liberal and dumping on him mercilessly. Colmes, for being a wimp and putting up with such treatment. However, it is a gentle form of insult. I can imagine Colmes reading it and raising a smile, and thinking "true, so true".

"Ann's jokes insult you. So you don't find them funny. But very many people do."

I'm not sure if Ann's "jokes" do insult me. Am I in any of the groups she targets? I'm not American, so I've never had the opportunity to vote Democrat. I didn't lose any loved ones in the 9/11 terrorist outrage. I'm not a single mother - I'm not even female. I'm not Canadian, or Muslim, or Jewish, or homosexual. I'm not the Earth.... No, Ann's "jokes" don't insult me. They do insult my intelligence, though.

Mikhail Simkin

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Re: Grammar is a clue
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2010, 01:44:33 PM »
Your "joke" said nothing about Bush's assertions, or bin Laden's enzymes. You're really stretching now, to defend a point which should be conceded.
But the phrase, quoted by me,  also says nothing about Plato's assertions.

The joke insults Colmes and his employers in equal measure. His employers, for pretending to be "fair and balanced" while employing only one token liberal and dumping on him mercilessly. Colmes, for being a wimp and putting up with such treatment. However, it is a gentle form of insult. I can imagine Colmes reading it and raising a smile, and thinking "true, so true".
So it insults even more people. More reason for you to laugh.

I'm not sure if Ann's "jokes" do insult me. Am I in any of the groups she targets? I'm not American, so I've never had the opportunity to vote Democrat. I didn't lose any loved ones in the 9/11 terrorist outrage. I'm not a single mother - I'm not even female. I'm not Canadian, or Muslim, or Jewish, or homosexual. I'm not the Earth.... No, Ann's "jokes" don't insult me. They do insult my intelligence, though.
Aren't you a liberal? 

mtgradwell

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Re: Grammar is a clue
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2010, 12:19:24 PM »
Aren't you a liberal? 

Yes, but I'm a different kind of liberal from the kind apparently found in the cesspool of Ann's mind, the kind that she makes a living out of attacking. Their liberalism is, according to Ann, a "mental disorder" which rejects the idea of God and reviles people of faith, while bearing all the attributes of a religion itself. In this Church of Liberalism lies, injustice, cruelty and hypocrisy are seen as virtues. In other words, it is so similar to Ann's own way of thinking that I am unable to comprehend why she does not embrace it wholeheartedly.

Try to think back to a time B.C. (Before Coulter). Can you remember when people chose science over prejudice, and love and kindness over mean spiritedness? When it was fashionable to express appreciation for a system which brought us health, prosperity and freedom? When respecting the beliefs of others, even when they differed from  our own, was the mark of an educated, decent person?

".. when we thought the best way to overcome misunderstanding, prejudice, and hate was by means of reason, common sense, clear-thinking, and good-will.

We called this being scientific. We called this being rational. We called this being enlightened. We called this being liberal.

We called this being modern."

(I'm quoting from Edward R. Friedlander's "Why I am Not a Postmodernist" at http://pathguy.com/postmod.htm because he puts it better than I can. I think you would do well to read it in its entirety).

This is the liberalism which I espouse. It is the pinnacle of Western civilisation, end encompasses everything that is or has been worthwhile about that civilisation. It takes the light of the greatest minds of the past, and carries it forwards (though the light is in severe danger of being extinguished now). It is the philosophy espoused by the editors and compilers of such great works as "Encyclopaedia Britannica" and the "60 Great Books of the Western World" (which may be why you don't hear so much about those projects nowadays). It is something I would hope to be considered a part of, and if I am then that is a badge to be worn with pride.

If you can find even the slightest overlap between the liberalism Ann Coulter attacks and the liberalism which I espouse, then I will agree that she is attacking me.

Mikhail Simkin

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Re: Grammar is a clue
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2010, 12:53:50 PM »
Yes
Then it is very strange that in your previous post you wrote "Am I in any of the groups she targets?" Liberals are the group she ridicules most prominiently.

but I'm a different kind of liberal from the kind apparently found in the cesspool of Ann's mind
Yes, but only in your mind.

Can you remember when people chose science over prejudice, and love and kindness over mean spiritedness?

When did they do it? In 1789?



So much of love and kindness.

When it was fashionable to express appreciation for a system which brought us health, prosperity and freedom? When respecting the beliefs of others, even when they differed from  our own, was the mark of an educated, decent person?
So that such decent people like Saatchi  can by titles. And afterward these noble lords make strippers into artists (or art into brothel).

By the way, do you know, that Ceau?escu was also knighted? And banished just hours before their execution by a gang of liberals. So much of decency.

".. when we thought the best way to overcome misunderstanding, prejudice, and hate was by means of reason, common sense, clear-thinking, and good-will.

We called this being scientific. We called this being rational. We called this being enlightened. We called this being liberal.

We called this being modern."
And when a scientist, who made one of the greatest discoveries of the XX century, challenges your catechism you snub him impudently "elementary, my dear Watson". After what the scientist loses his job.

If you can find even the slightest overlap between the liberalism Ann Coulter attacks and the liberalism which I espouse, then I will agree that she is attacking me.
Why then you are offended? People do not get offended, when hear lies about them. Only when they hear the truth.