CPAC Program Leads Me To Conclude Conservatives Don’t Know English

CPAC 2012 has come and gone. It brought thousands of conservative activists, politicians, and leaders to DC–the national capital, and a bastion of left-wing welfare liberalism–in a whirlwind of addresses, speeches, presentations, breakout sessions, discussions, wi-fi fights, blackouts (both in Internet connections and booze), and protests by the OccupyDC movement and labor unions.

Over at United Liberty, I have (or will have) several posts up about CPAC and what went on there, but I think a good place to examine the kind of people who inhabit that space can be found by reading the speakers’ bios in the program. Now, this is a blog about writing, so it’s less about what the people actually did…and how the biographies are actually written. All the errors you see here are from the program itself, though since I am typing these in manually, that might actually come out to roughly 95% from the program; I’ll try and catch any of my own mistakes.

Let’s start off with Stephen Baldwin (no, not that Baldwin):

Stephen Baldwin is an actor, family man, born-again Christian, and the co-host of Xtreme Media Radio with Kevin McCullough. In 1995 he landed a break-through role in dual Oscar-winning film: The Usual Suspects. Baldwin appeared on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” Season 7 on NBC- finishing 5th. Baldwin was a contestant on the 2009 NBC reality show, “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” he quit the show mid-season due to a parasitic infection. In September 2006 Baldwin released his book titled The Unusual Suspect, which details highlights from his personal life, career, days involving the “Hollywood lifestyle” and ultimately, his turn to becoming a born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks. In October 2008, Republican VP Candidate Sarah Palin joked with lifelong democrat Alec Baldwin during a SNL skit tht Stepher is her “Favorite Baldwin Brother”. In 2008, Baldwin teamed up with conservative talk radio host Kevin McCullough to put together Saturday show, “Baldwin/MuCullough LIVE”

Whoo boy. Let’s catalog all these errors, shall we?

  1. “break-through” should, arguably, be “breakthrough,” but I’ll admit that could be up to dispute
  2. “in dual Oscar-winning film: The Usual Suspects” should be “in the dual Oscar-winning film The Usual Suspects.”
  3. Celebrity Apprentice should be italicized, not have quotation marks
  4. “NBC- finishing 5th” should be “NBC–finishing 5th.” You need two dashes, not one and a space. C’mon, this is basic.
  5. Capitalize the “h” in “he” after the show title, since it’s considered to be a new sentence.
  6. Also, why the hell have that line at all? That’s just gross.
  7. Don’t capitalize “Candidate.”
  8. Do capitalize “democrat.”
  9. “tht” should be “that” (which makes me facepalm.)
  10. Insert a “the” between “together” and “Saturday” in the last line.
  11. Put a period at the end of that last line so it doesn’t look like its just hanging out there above the abyss of ungrammatical statements.

Let’s continue. Next up is Baldwin’s partner, Kevin McCullough:

Kevin McCullough is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and columnist, tackles news and current events from a Christian perspective. The author of MuscleHead Revolution and The Kind of Man Every Man Should Be, his approach to politics and values has garnered a large following of loyal listeners and readers. Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of “The Kevin McCullough Show” & “Baldwin/McCullough Radio”. His newest best-selling hardcover from Thomas Nelson Publishers, “No He Can’t: How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change” is in stores now and topped multiple best-sellers list in 2011, for over nine weeks in a row. Both Baldwin/McCullough *LIVE* & The Kevin McCullough Show have been honored by Talkers Magazine in 2010 and 2011 as one of the top 50 multi–platform-casters & top talk radio shows in the country. On January 29th 2012 XtreMEDIA launched it’s third nationally syndicated radio show The Dani Johnson Show that is receiving rave reviews from the talk radio industry.

Ugh.

  1. “tackles” should be “tackling,” otherwise just end the first sentence where the comma is.
  2. Both MuscleHead Revolution and The Kind of Many Every Man Should Be should be italicized.
  3. The third book, “No He Can’t,” should also be italicized. Also: so hang on here, first you don’t do anything to the title, then you put it in quotation marks? If you’re going to be a screw-up, at least be a consistent screw-up.
  4. You can’t have “multiple best-sellers list.” Put an “s” on that list.
  5. Again, consistency: put quotation marks around Baldwin/McCullough *LIVE* and The Kevin McCullough Show.
  6. Okay, so you use an em dash and then an en dash in the middle of a word? Come on. (For the record, it’s en dashes in both places.)
  7. Again, no quotation marks around The Dani Johnson Show? Be consistent.

Next to bat will be Tom McDevitt’s short bio:

Tom McDevitt is the President of the Washington Time.s He is a member of the Unification Church and in the early 1980s was the pastor of the church in Washington DC.

You can spot the obvious mistake there. Moving on, we have Kristan Hawkins:

Kristan Hawkins is the Executive Director of Students for Life of America’s (SFLA), a position which she has held since 2006. Hawkins has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and the Christian Broadcasting Network. She currently hosts the radio show “On Campus with Students for Life” on National Pro-life Radio. Hawkins came to SFLA after serving as a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Previously, she also worked for the 2004 Bush/Cheney re-election campaign and at the Republican National Committee. Since working at SFLA, she has been awarded the Susan B. Anthony Young Leader Award, the Dr. William Hogan Education Award for pro-life leadership, the 2009 Weyrich Youth Leadership Award, and a 2010 Life

A 2010 Life what? I don’t know, it just ends there. Presumably, it’s important. Or maybe–wait, that’s it! She got a 1-UP mushroom in 2010! Holy cow! And here I thought conservatives were against drug use…

Then there’s Stephen DeMaura:

Stephen DeMaura is the President of Americans for Job Security. Stephen DeMaura has served in a number of leadership positions in government and politics. He began his career in the field as Executive Director of Democracy in Practice in Concord, New Hampshire. In 2002, he worked on the Bruce Keough for Governor campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire, as a Statewide Volunteer Coordinator. In 2002 and 2004, Stephen DeMaura gained experience in fundraising and campaign management when he worked for the Republican Senate Caucus. After graduating from American University with his Bachelor’s degree, Stephen DeMaura worked as a communications consultant for several ballot initiatives, advocacy groups and candidates. Stephen DeMaura currently attends John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and is studying to receive his Master of Arts in Government at the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Okay, we get it. Your name is Stephen DeMaura. We’re not dumb or amnesiac, I’m sure we can remember it until we finish your piece.

These are only examples. The rest of it is rife with errors and some very questionable stylistic choices. Like, putting quotation marks around conflict as in the following: “Mr Martin joined the Marine Corps in 1953 at age 17 as the Korean “conflict” concluded and served on active duty until 1958.” The implication is that the Korean War was not even up to the standard of a true “conflict,” and I think that’s pretty disrespectful of all the veterans who served in that war (which seems very out of place for the relatively pro-military CPAC crowd.) There are inconsistencies in styling, spelling errors (including listing the late Czech leader Vaclav Havel as “Vaclay Havel”) grammatical foul-ups, and just plain bad writing. I mean, take the name of one of the organizations there, “True the Vote.” I mean Jesus, “True” is not a verb! You want “Trust the Vote,” or maybe “True Vote,” or something else, but “True the Vote” is the kind of writing I would expect from a fifth-grader, not a professional organization!

What makes this even more insulting (and perhaps hilarious) is that the Conference hosted a panel on making English the only language of the United States. But if these guys can’t even bother to spell check, proofread, and do some copyediting on their own publication (which is printed in English), what authority do they have on promoting this language? None, that’s what.

I don’t know how much CPAC2012 cost, but I’m going to assume that it cost a few millions to put on. And yet, within that massive budget, they couldn’t afford $500 for an English undergrad to do some basic proofreading of their main program? This is beyond lazy. Anyone picking up this program would look at it and think the people putting on CPAC were uneducated morons, not to be taken seriously. This is the premier conservative political event of the year and yet they come out looking like a rural PTA that can’t get its shit together. This is absurd, and definitely paints a picture of a movement that has zero chance of defeating Barack Obama in November. If you can’t write a sentence properly, you can’t defeat an incumbent president of the most powerful nation in the world, full stop.

I’m actually ashamed and disappointed by this. I don’t consider myself a conservative, as I’m a libertarian first and foremost, but there really needs to be some effective opposition to  Obama’s policies. The guy has got to go; personally, I’d replace him with Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, I think Mitt Romney would suffice (his own failures would probably preclude him from getting anything done, which I would consider a plus.) Yet instead we have these jokers who can’t be bothered to do even the most basic of tasks for an event.

This might be taking things a bit too far, but judging from the quality of editing for this publication, I’ll say this: these guys are toast.

#Breaking: George Lucas Retiring, Pretends he’s Hayden Christensen

Parallel Universe on MSN: George Lucas Blames ‘Star Wars’ Critics for Killing Series.

Sure, George, sure.

Don’t get me wrong. Star Wars is by far the greatest movie/fiction franchise ever created. I am still a Star Wars fan at the end of the day, even if I’m not the nut I used to be. It is absolutely expert blend of science fiction and fantasy, of wonder and excitement, of characters and plot. The mind-boggling simplicity of the original 1977 Star Wars still blows me away (and constantly tells me that I think way too damn much about these things.) It has completely transformed the way we look at the world. Even forty years later, we’re still using its phrases such as “The Force is strong with this one” and making new stormtrooper costumes and reading comic books and making Yoda Soda and on and on ad infinitum. George Lucas created something that redefined not just a generation, but an entire culture. He made a classic–nay, a legend–on par with Camelot, Atlantis, Sherlock Holmes, and Gulliver Travels. He created an entirely new genre for his work.

That still doesn’t excuse the fact that the prequels kinda…sucked.

The two big things for me is the dialogue and some of the acting. The majority of the writing is sound, and while fans can be a little depressed that the Clone Wars weren’t more grand and impressive (basically, they last for two years, kill some Jedi, and that’s about it, and they’re even about clones, they just use ’em) the stories themselves are not bad. The problem is that some of the dialogue is just unbelievably atrocious. Most of that comes from the romantic scenes involving Anakin and Padme (who, by the way, was dating someone 10-15 years younger than her) which, let’s face it, had none of the power of the Leia & Han scenes. And the acting in general was just poor. I don’t know who Lucas hired to be chief of casting, but he should shoot that guy with a Zarnok Butt Blaster and give him a short stint in the spice mines of Kessel. Natalie Portman was decent, and Ewan MacGregor and Liam Neeson were very good, but Hayden Christensen? Maybe he was directed to act that way–in which case, blame comes back around to Lucas–but I didn’t find his acting very good at all. Even the scenes in which he was being a whiner seemed shallow, artificial, and wooden.

That’s definitely not to say that they were the worse movies ever. Far from it. (I think either Manos: The Hands of Fate or Human Centipede have that title.) But they definitely didn’t capture the magic of the original trilogy either, and while I also agree that many times, lightning doesn’t strike twice, I think you could have pulled it off. At least you could have had better actors.

Also, I do think that many of the prequel critics went too far. Episode I: The Phantom Menace, was actually pretty good, even if the funniest character was CGI. Episode II and Episode III were the difficult ones for me, again because of the lousy dialogue and poor acting. Some of the critics I’ve read think these movies belonged in the junk heap in the middle of Mos Eisley. Their rage and animosity reached Coruscanti proportions (have you ever seen the bottom of one of those towers? Didn’t think so) in how George Lucas ruined Star Wars. None of this was really necessary nor warranted. George Lucas is Star Wars, if you haven’t noticed, and that’s just the way its going to be. Deal with it.

But seriously, George, none of that makes up for the fact that the prequels still kinda sucked. And then you made The Clone Wars. And that’s terrible. I don’t care if its being aimed at children, it’s terrible. Thank goodness your staff made it its own canon-level below the movies. I mean, Anakin having his own whiny Padawan? The Mandalorians–you know, Boba Fett’s people*–are all a bunch of pacifists? Why? Yes, yes, it is totally your work–but why?

Oh, and then there was the whole thing where you, like, took the old movies and made them nicer, and we were all like “yay! CGI!” and then you were like “Let’s make Han shoot second” and we were all like “Buh?” and then he replaces the older Anakin Skywalker ghost in Return of the Jedi with Hayden Christensen and we all went “Dude, lame,” and now he’s coming out with all six again in 3-D! and we’re just like “Laugh it up, fuzzball.” Enough is enough, you need to know when to stop tinkering.

I remember an interview George gave several years ago where he claimed that the prequels were supposed to be “the backstory.” Well, Orson Scott Card, writing in The Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction & Fantasy said you don’t write the flippin` backstory, because that’s just background stuff and its not the story! In that case George, you should have never written the prequels. I don’t think that’s actually true, I think George was trying to cover himself in that interview, but if it was…that’s just a bad excuse.

Please, George, for all of our sakes, you could have just retired and that would have been it. You could have just said “I’m tired of making commercial films, I want to make art films now,” and that would be fine. Instead, you say the reason you’re retiring is because the fans complained. Waah, waah, waah. Let me call the waaaaaaaaaahmbulance. See this violin I’m playing (of course you can’t, it’s too small.) Come on, George. Sure, they complained, and maybe it was way over the top, but you opened the freaking blast doors for them.

And besides, you made out at least $4.4 billion on the prequels and merchandising, so don’t tell me that they hate your guts. They paid for it.

Retire if you wish, Mr. Lucas. You have certainly earned the right to do so. You have transformed our society and our culture and given us something to enjoy and cherish for generations. You deserve a salute from all of us, and you also deserve for the majority your critics to shut the hell up for once. You deserve all that and more.

But to say you’re retiring because some fanboys complained about your work–that’s about as bad as being Hayden Christensen in a Jedi robe being schooled by Old Ben. And that’s just lame.

Read the entire interview from the New York Times. It is quite interesting.

*Granted, that wasn’t determined in the movies, that was largely determined by the fandom and later brought into canon, with Mandalorian culture being mostly created by a writer named Karen Traviss. Now there’s a piece of work who deserves some scorn.

EDIT: Actually, if you ever thought the prequels were bad, there’s this new thing out called Star Wars Uncut. Yeaaaaahhhhhh……

My atypical 4th of July Post

Usually on this day, American bloggers will write a post on the freedom and independence of the United States of America, about the men and women who have died to protect it, and how American democracy and values are super-important.

It’s not that I disagree–well, not totally–with that, but everyone does it. And I found something else I want to rant about from the art world. So I’m going to creep you out with this.

That’s right: my 4th of July post is going to be about photography of organs in water.

I’m not going to put any pictures here, in case you don’t want to see. But suffice to say, its gross, its disgusting, and I dare say it drives home my point on “art” far better than the stuff in the Smithsonian. I mean, just look at its “theme:”

Liquid Ground offers a challenge to dominant modes of presenting the body’s interior, by rejecting the celebration of gore and horror, and likewise challenging the clinical neutrality sought within medical discourse. Despite the potential for morbidity in the subject matter, the works become strangely compelling evocations of our visceral fragility and the entwined nature of our biological and cultural selves.

Then take a look at the comments, including my favorite:

I’m sorry, if I find that floating in the water, I’m not going to awed by “our visceral fragility” or “the entwined nature of our biological and cultural selves”..

I’m going to hurl and call the fucking police.

To the person who wrote that, thank you. You are a normal human being in a very crazy world. As for those who actually said they found it “beautiful,” well, you’re disgusting. And probably crazy. They’re not beautiful, they’re sickly looking. And don’t tell me art is “subjective.” I know that and accept it. But this is just human organs floating in water. That’s gross. And if you think its gorgeous, beautiful “art,” well, I’m not sure I want to associate with you, because you scare me.

Yes, I am harsh. But that’s the truth. Apologizes for creeping out your 4th of July.

Science’s real problem

I was reading this interesting article in the Independent about scientists, and namely, their lamentation that they are under “villification” by “polemicists” in the media. And that’s a fair question; science has been misrepresented and misconstrued for years. Journalists like big, definite things to sell to their readers, even when science doesn’t really have such a big thing, or it has misgivings or qualifications as to what it’s trying to present.

But the problem that the new president of the Royal Society brings up isn’t so much the media’s fault. Rather, I feel it lies at the fault of the scientists. We are both, of course, talking about “climate change” (or “anthropogenic global warming,” or what-have-you.) This is certainly a field full of controversy. But what exactly is Sir Paul talking about when he says that scientists are “under attack” and that he is shocked at the “vilification and distrust levelled at some scientists?” I don’t really see that going on. Sure, you have some blowhards on talk radio and late night cable saying some dumb things. Ignore them, they say dumb things about everybody. But in general, has there been vilification and distrust?

I argue against the former but tentatively for the latter. No, people are not “vilifying” scientists, and we are not going on a crusade against them. But there are a great number who are skeptical of what these scientists are saying, and are even more skeptical at their so-called “remedies” to our so-called “problems.” And is not skepticism the entire crux of which science depends upon? Is not science saying, “What is that, how does it work, why does it happen that way, and I’m not sure I buy that explanation“?

For this case, I point to the scandal at East Anglia. The article states that “four independent inquiries have cleared the scientists involved of scientific fraud or misconduct” but pray tell, what was the point of altering the data in such a fashion? No one has explained this to me. Not one. And I’m just supposed to buy that “this is how we do science?” Balderdash.

There are also serious questions raised over how they gained the data, namely over their temperature stations, many of which started out in rural areas but were then absorbed and surrounded by pent-up conurbations, particularly in China, thus distorting the data for later years. There’s the question of the IPCC’s inclusion of an unfinished grad student’s paper in their report, and their information on receding glaciers taken from casual remarks made by hikers.

There is undoubtedly a great deal of questioning about how much federal funding goes into projects to study “global warming” and into the supposed remedies for it. Let’s open up that can of worms; I’d be very interested in that sort of information, though I doubt Sir Paul and his ilk would be. They always croon about “global warming denialists” receiving money from the big bad oil companies, but has anyone done a serious inquiry into how much money government pours into the coffers of climate change scientists? And has anyone connected the dots and thought, if the scientists concluded that global warming was not happening, what would happen to said government funds?

And finally, there’s a very big question of: have their looked up recently? I can excuse the scientists at East Anglia for missing this–they do live in England, after all–but there is a very large body of burning gas up there that emits a huge amount of light and heat, and is one, if not the one, major factor in our climate. Maybe if they talked more about the Sun rather than us piddling human beings who cannot hope to blow this planet asunder–well, not yet, anyways–they’d get less dubious looks.

No, the real problem facing scientists is that they act shocked–shocked, I tell you–that the public has the temerity to doubt their assertions. Other intellectuals, fine, they’re used to that. But the public? The public is supposed to take their statements unquestioningly! After all, they’re scientists! This is their job! They cannot accept the public doubting their conclusions. They (probably) feel its going back to pre-Enlightenment times. That is the problem facing scientists today. And thus, the problem is not with science at all.

For the record, I do believe in climate change and global warming, however, I do not believe it affects us nearly as much as these scientists do. No, I believe that it will not be a serious threat to our existence for at least three or four centuries, most likely longer. New York City will not be flooded by 2050 (maybe if there was a god, it would be), the polar bears will still have glaciers, and demagogues will have other issues to complain about.

I welcome scientists who wish to enter the debate, and “take on” those “polemicists” in the “media” who distort what they say. But let’s all be honest about this. Otherwise, they’re being as polemical as all those other guys.