Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Proofreading and Editing Skills Put to Test by Gary Ruppert

I finished the night class I was taking at the USDA Graduate School last week. The class was titled "Proofreading" and was a fantastic education in grammar and general proofreading. I can not recommend it strongly enough to any person interested in this topic.

Gary Ruppert said,
December 11, 2007 at 3:34
The fact is, liberals would surrender to any gunman, especially if he was wearing a hijab or a trowel. You would expect tolerance and get killed. What you deserve, exactly.

Gary Ruppert has a few basic grammar problems in this comment that inhibit his attempt to communicate. Clear communication is the goal of proofreading. The rules of grammar allow us to create sentences that can be understand by anyone with an understanding of the language used. Gary Ruppert has chosen to disregard several of the rules and this has hampered our understanding of his statement.1

The first sentence needs a bit of work, even if I ignore the blatant, baseless assertion. The construction "The fact is" is entirely unnecessary if we strengthen the rest of the sentence. How does this one suit you, Gary: "Liberals are spineless pacifists who would surrender to any gunmen and would also quiver in abject fear if the assailant was wearing a hijab or trowel." I am not sure why an armed individual is more terrifying when wearing a garden tool but perhaps this is something with which Gary is particularly familiar. It is distinctly possible that Gary meant to type towel and as a good proofreader, I should query the author. What do you think, Gary? Are garden implements tools of terror and destruction?

"Liberals would expect tolerance from an armed maniac and be killed. As a liberal, you deserve exactly that end because of your tolerance and lifestyle." Here, I have taken Gary's sentences and performed a rather radical alteration that keeps the intent and communicated ideas largely intact. If this were a normal situation, I would make these changes and then flag them for special attention from the author to insure that I have understood the poorly constructed sentence and the fragmented sentence. Previously, the pronoun you was undefined and weakened the case being made by Mr. Ruppert.

Gary Ruppert said,
December 11, 2007 at 17:46
The fact is, you will be exposed for your perfity, and bias towards USA and troops and freedom. God does not like liberals, especially when they shelter illegals, abort and do not work hard.

Given the similarities between the two comments, I have no doubt that both comments were written by the same confused individual. As an editor, I would instruct Gary to rewrite his arguments and add supporting evidence to his claims about liberals. Assertions must be supported with facts and the construction "The fact is" does not have magical powers bestowing mighty amounts of truth onto the statement that follows. Based on the content of the post and the actions described therein, Gary's comment does not require the construction. Gary's comment does require some clarification in the use of to the indefinite pronoun you. Correcting spelling and abbreviation errors are other aspects of the proofreader's job. "You, Mister Leonard Pierce, will be exposed for your perfidy, bias towards the U.S.A., troops, and freedom." That is a better sentence than the original but we haven't quite met our goal of clarity. I have broken up the list into four separate items to help Gary with his declaration that there are in fact four transgressions that Mister Leonard Pierce will be committing should he make it to CPAC 20082. We still have the odd use of the word bias to consider. As it is currently written, the sentence indicates that Mister Leonard Pierce is biased towards the United States of America, some indefinite troops and freedom. Since Gary is accusing Mister Pierce of perfidy, "an act or instance of faithlessness or treachery" according to Dictionary.com, we can assume that this bias mentioned is wrong in the eyes of the author. Once the audience is forced to make assumptions because of an author's poor ability to communicate your ideas, that author has gone horribly astray. In this comment, Gary Ruppert is perhaps saying that he approves of those who have a bias against the U.S.A., indefinite troops, and freedom. As a proofreader, I can not be certain and should query the author. However, Gary Ruppert has no website that we know of and thus I am left only to assume that he has something against the U.S.A., troops, and freedom. I have no idea about the identity of these "troops" but they could be Boy Scout Troops, some sort of armed forces, bands of teenagers roaming any of the faceless suburbs of America, or even troops of baboons wandering the wilds of Africa. I am must query the author again. Freedom is an odd concept in this context as well. The author has mentioned the United States of America and might mean any of the particular freedoms granted by the U.S. Constitution and limited by the Patriot Act or he might mean the more ambiguous concept of freedom as a basic right of all human beings. I am not certain and the meaning can not be determined from context.

"God does not like liberals, especially when they shelter illegals, abort and do not work hard." This sentence seems to be a non sequitor. It does not pertain to the subject matter of the post written by Mister Pierce nor does it convey any useful information to Mr. Ruppert previous sentence about perfidy, troops, and freedom. This sentence weakens the already weak argument in the first sentence and, as an editor, I would remove it entirely. However, in this case, I am proofreading and not editing. I would change the sentence to read: "God does not like liberals and especially dislikes them because liberals shelter illegals (Illegal whats? Illegal pets? Illegal firearms? Illegal herbalism projects?), abort (Again Gary, please clarify what is being aborted. A countdown? A computer operation?) and are lazy." As an editor, I would also demand citations.

This post is evidence of two things: I will never get a job at Regnery and I spent too much time on this BS.

1. Before I begin this laborious task I must say that I do not like commas and tend to alter sentences to avoid using them.
2. Normally I would give the full name of the group before using the abbreviation but I do not know what the full name is, nor was I able to find that name on the CPAC website. This is a fine example of shoddy proofreading on behalf of CPAC.


Brando said...

Well, the illegals speak of a Trowelpucabra, an aborted Mexican fetus with a trowel for a head that keeps it from being able to be gainfully employed and work hard. That may be what Gary was referring to.

Chuckles said...

That makes as much sense as The Great Gary does, Brando.

billy pilgrim said...

If Gary shows up here, I'll barf.

billy pilgrim said...

Although I would love to see him try to comment at 3B.

Snag said...

When trowels are illegal, then only illegals will have trowels.

billy pilgrim said...

Is Gary a trowel-head?

And if he knows where his trowel is, is it necessary to consider him a hoopy frood?

Dandrobium said...

Well I have two comments 1) you certainly seemed to have learned new and interesting ways of being snarky in the proofreading class and 2) who is Gary Ruppert and why should I care?

Chuckles said...

Gary Ruppert is a hilarious troll. His family apparently brews beer, if the Brickskeller is to be believed.

Kathleen said...

I'd like to buy a trowel, Pat.

billy pilgrim said...

Actually, Gary Ruppert is so much more. The level of funny and snark he inspires is transcendent; it becomes difficult to beleive that he is 'merely' some right-wing loner in his Mom's basement.

I myself believe Gary is a pan-dimensional Nitwit, whose extrusion into our dimension takes the form of occasional incoherent, barely-relevant and hilariously argumentative comments at Sadly, No!

Many believe Gary to be a product of multiple 'fake' posts, authored by regular comenters and attempting towards Gary-dom; kind of a 'subconscious wingnut gestalt'

The blog owners maintain Gary is an illegal immigrant, paid pennies by a wingnut entrepreneur to wander the intertoobs, spraying random wingnuttiness wherever he lands; like a twisted Fascist Johnny Appleseed.

One other school of thought is that Gary is a self-evolving program running on a rogue Apple II somewhere, learning grammar and debate as it goes, and making self-improving upgrades as occasion permits, which accounts for his evolving linguistic skills (which have become arguably better over time; although this also lends credence to the second theory above).

Chuckles said...

I agree with the Pan Dimensional Nitwit although I don't think it is residing in its mother's basement. I think Gary is a 65 year old dude who only recently received a cast off Apple II when his grandchildren found their dad's computer and tossed it down the stairs when he wouldn't buy them a second pair of ponies. Gary was stashed in the basement a few years ago and forgotten by his children.

mdhatter said...

Someone should start a Trollopedia where run-ins can be 'reported'.

moon akondo said...

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