Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ask Todd, the first

Sorry for the lateness. I couldn't log in to Blogger for some reason.

You have asked questions. AND I SHALL ANSWER.

I'm giving you all pseudonyms.

Republican Rex wants to know, specifically, if the size of a newsroom has anything to do with bias (see this piece). Specifically, he thinks many small newspapers are too small, so they have obvious biases.

Yes and no. Obviously, everyone is biased. So a newsletter put out by one guy is going to reflect that guy's prejudices and biases (etc.). But once you add a second person to the mix, there's some mediation.

And so on and so on.

So. . .yes. . .the smaller a newsroom, the easier it is for one person to push through their vision of what the newspaper should be. But, most of the major metro dailies (and by that, I mean any paper that publishes all seven days of the week) have the necessary checks and balances in place to take care of things. You're much more likely to see outright bias in a weekly newspaper.

Jaundiced Jennifer wants to know just what I meant when I said that good satire should piss everyone off (and somewhere in here, I'm going to launch a defense of Prickly City. . .cover your ears). (See this piece.)

I THINK what my boss was trying to say is that good satire comes from such a specific worldview of one individual that others who come in contact with it won't ALWAYS agree with it. Bad satire just toes the party line and says the other side is bad. That's why Mallard Fillmore is terrible satire. It just automatically assumes everything liberals do is wrong. However, Prickly City (which has met with less success) automatically assumes everything liberals do is wrong, but (here's the difference) one of creator Scott Stantis' two main characters (specifically the coyote Winslow) is a liberal whom Stantis has affection for. Instantly, the strip becomes the product of a worldview beyond the right-wing echo chamber (there are plenty of web comics that exist in the left-wing echo chamber if you want to go digging). Mallard Fillmore just wants to antagonize liberals; Prickly City wants to EVANGELIZE to them, which makes it much more interesting.

Mallard Fillmore is also never, never funny. It's a law of the universe.

Lumberin' Larry wants to know what the difference is between who and whom. (See? I never should have said I was a copy editor!)

Who is a subject pronoun. Whom is an object pronoun. If you knew all about subjects and objects, we wouldn't have to have this discussion. But. . .in general. . .a subject DOES the action. An object RECEIVES the action. In this sentence -- The cat shot the gun at the squid -- "cat" is the only subject. But we have two objects. Specifically, we have "gun," which is receiving the action of the cat ("shot") and the "squid," which is receiving the action of the prepositional phrase.

Most people just say "When you use he, use who, and when you use him, use whom." That's a pretty good rule, expect people always forget that when you have a "to be" verb in there, the participle defaults to a subject (because we're equating with the subject). So we would properly have "It is he" or "It is we" instead of "It's him" or "It's us." This means that "It is I!" is grammatically appropriate. So use it when you want to sound ostentatious.

So, when you've got a situation where you need to use who or whom, rearrange the clause to make a proper sentence, then stick in he or him (it almost always works. . .the few exceptions are ones you don't need to worry about because you don't get paid to do this crap). Let's play!

That is the man who/whom is getting the boat.

Who, of course, is right in that sentence. We wouldn't say "Him is getting the boat," would we?

The cat who/whom she gave the present to is the fat one.

Here, we would say "whom." When we rearrange the sentence, we get. . ."She gave the present to who/whom." And, of course, we say "She gave the present to him."

You're getting the hang of it.

Finally, Touchdown Terry wants to know my NFL playoff predictions AND what I thought of Match Point.

I give Match Point a big, fat "meh." I found the last thirty minutes riveting and everything else so so. Woody's garden-variety existentialism just gets tiresome and heavyhanded after a while.

NFL playoff predictions? Don't mind if I do. (Even IF my beloved Colts are out of it. *sob*)

AFC: Pittsburgh 21, Denver 20 (I think this could turn into another game for the ages.)
NFC: Seattle 34, Carolina 17 (not so much here)

Hey. I predicted a Seahawks/Colts Super Bowl before the season. It would be nice to be right on ONE count.

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