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Cheriola on I Could Care Fewer
at 14:52 on 12-09-2014 - link
I have tried to read this article and follow the conversation in the comments, but have found myself unable to. All you've achieved is to confuse me and make me more insecure about my use of English language, because I'm in exactly the same boat as Tamara.
I've always thought "I couldn't care less" was an idiom specifically used to express dismissiveness and slight insult, not any literal quantification of levels of caring. I.e. "I don't care about football" just means it doesn't interest me. It's not a value statement, though, just my personal taste. While "I couldn't care less about the opinions of this bigot" means that I don't think his opinions are worth listening to or could ever hypothetically be worth anything, so no-one should take an interest in them and I know I should strive not to let them bother me. But of course I care, since they piss me off. I've always used the expression to indicate a negative value judgement, to be intentionally dismissive of some topic.
Someone using that or any other idiom "wrong" always ticked me off a little, because if I as a foreigner can put in the hard work of memorising idioms and their colloquial connotations and non-obvious and non-grammatical meanings, then a native speaker not bothering to get it right just seems lazy at best, or at worst intentionally mean to people like me. Like you're moving the goal posts to make it harder for me to understand. But rationally I know that, at this point, "I could care less" is used widely enough that it's becoming an idiom in its own right. So whatever.
Also, if I'm using the world "literally", I usually mean to indicate that what I'm saying is NOT meant figuratively or (much of) a hyperbole, especially if I think it would be interpreted figuratively without the indicator. Like when I use the phrase "I literally spent the latter half of this book shouting X at it every few pages." That maybe doesn't mean I was really shouting out loud all the time (though I probably did that a few times), but it does mean that the content pissed me off so much that I couldn't get it out of my head and that I was angered anew by something on average every half-dozen pages or so.
But now after reading your discussion (or trying to - I gave up half-way through), I worry that no-one else is using "literally" that way, and that my meaning is constantly being misinterpreted. :\
Also, I agree with Arthur, Standard English really is necessary for foreigners to have at least one generally agreed-upon way to communicate. Not just with native speakers, but more importantly with each other. Don't forget that English is the current lingua franca for international tourism and the natural sciences. The reason English class is mandatory in all German schools from 5th grade all the way to the local equivalent of A Levels (you can't drop the subject out of your schedule like you can your second foreign language before starting your A Level classes), is that no matter if you study in the humanities or natural sciences or whatever, you will need at least semi-fluent English to communicate with your peers around the world. There were even special "English for X" courses offered in my university, to refresh grammer, teach some specialised vocabulary (but really not much of that), and increase fluency to the point of being able to hold a presentation in English. All the papers we had to read for seminars were in English, too, and that was most of what we read after the first 2 years of basic courses, because the textbooks just couldn't keep up with the pace of new discovery in the field, nevermind the translated German editions of the textbooks. Of course the English used in these papers was a somewhat simplified version of Standard English, because of the need for clear sentence structures not prone to vague or multiple interpretations, and because they would normally not have been written by native speakers. I was even taught that it is good form in that context to keep it to just one comma per sentence (which would indicate that you think your readers are undereducated or slow, if you did it in my native German, hence my tendency to write run-on sentences even in English - sorry) and to avoid colloquialisms and idioms at all costs. Because it wouldn't be fair to make your paper harder to understand than it needs to be, on the language level, especially since there are a lot of countries that can't afford to give out free English lessons to every kid for 8-9 years.
Arthur B on Kickstopper: The Point and Click Cycle
at 18:17 on 09-09-2014 - link
A little update: Pinkerton Road just put out their final edition of their monthly update for backers of the original Kickstarter, since the GK1 remake is releasing soon.
The main point of interest coming out of the process is that Jane and Richard have come to the conclusion that their core strengths are as creatives, rather than running the business side of things. They do not rule out doing another Kickstarter, but I suspect a lot will depend on whether they can get someone in to handle the business side of things. They are quite encouraged by the recent resurrection of the Sierra brand in Activision as a home for independently produced games, and I suspect they might investigate the possibility of getting funding from that avenue to get subsequent projects done.
- Arthur B on J.K. Rowling's Naked Lunch at 15:58 on 06-09-2014 - link That's a good way to put it.
Andy G on J.K. Rowling's Naked Lunch
at 15:41 on 06-09-2014 - link
I also read this recently - I really enjoyed it and found the resolution in particular very satisfying and elegant.
Picking up the point about the trans character: I found both here and in The Cuckoo's Calling (with respect to black characters), the issue was a well-intentioned but slightly clunky portrayal that was very clearly from a cis/white perspective for cis/white readers. The way the minority characters describe their own minority is slightly strained and formal.
Arthur B on A Rowling In the Nest
at 11:12 on 21-08-2014 - link
I get that the point is for her to come into this as a blank slate who ends up being an integral piece, but it was all too 1950s for me. Her special abilities include finding coffee and getting women to open up to her in girly chats.
Without spoilering, I can say that Silkworm does do some work to turn this around in three important ways:
- Her engagement ends up in crisis and she has to deal with that, so she no longer comes across as sleepwalking into a marriage which clearly isn't going to work for her and in general seems to be actually thinking about her relationship with Matthew a bit more critically. (I actually think Rowling manages to finesse it here so that the engagement ends up not being a fairytale fantasy but also not being an obvious trap, but a realistic relationship that has to be worked on and may or may not be worth working on.)
- There's more references to her past and Something Mysterious which prompted her to drop out of university (though it isn't revealed yet - I suspect it's going to be fodder for a subsequent novel).
- Most importantly, she reveals a side of her skill set which radically goes against the grain of what's been revealed so far. Whilst to an extent we're meant to be shocked and surprised precisely because she, of all people, is able to do the stuff she does, at the same time it does mean she can engage with the dangerous side of detective-ing a bit more directly.
Also, though the working relationship is still a bit paternal, it shifts from boss/secretary to detective/apprentice, so there's scope for them to evolve into business partners as well as romantic partners.
Sonia Mitchell on A Rowling In the Nest
at 23:28 on 20-08-2014 - link
This was on sale in the Kindle store for £1.99 so I've finally read it, and I agree with most of this review. Despite the various flaws it was an entertaining read.
One thing that bugged me that hasn't been mentioned is that the book slips between different points of view quite loosely, and without warning. I think this is a particularly problematic habit in a mystery story - if characters are concealing information or generally being unreliable, the reader needs to be absolutely certain whose POV is being used.
I also felt that the red herring of thewater drops on the landingwas clumsy. Obviously we're supposed to think that it'smelted snow, but the actual explanation makes no sense.Why was Strike expecting something to be there? Who would really be expected to slip on a few drops of water?
And to be a bit of a Captain Killjoy - and this is just my own reaction, not one I'm suggesting others should have - I didn't like the depiction of Robin. I get that the point is for her to come into this as a blank slate who ends up being an integral piece, but it was all too 1950s for me. Her special abilities include finding coffee and getting women to open up to her in girly chats. She's introduced in post-engagement elation, gloating over how her ring sparkles. She's needy for praise and gives Strike the cold shoulder when he forgets to give it. There's nothing wrong with any of that in real life (well, except the neediness, but it's a very human trait), but as a character type she rubbed me up the wrong way.
I think you're probably right about an extended romance plot but I also find that quite problematic given the paternal tones of the working relationship. Again, personal preference only.
- Jamie Johnston on I Could Care Fewer at 12:20 on 17-08-2014 - link On the subject of attempts to verbalize the extent to which one does or does not care, I've just heard someone out in the street shouting, 'I don't give two monkeys'.
- Sonia Mitchell on Matthew Reilly Hits the Exclamation Mark. Bam! at 21:49 on 14-08-2014 - link Hmm, could be something in that. Maybe there's some kind of Axe Cop arrangement.