…appears in the February 23 edition of The Economist, in an article that addresses the split in Hamas’ leadership:
“Yet even the pragmatists, currently seeking a deal with Israel that would comprise a ceasefire, an exchange of prisoners and a formula for opening the border crossing to Egypt, shy from the kind of concessions–such as recognising Israel–that might convince the world to grant them legitimacy.”
I had to read this sentence several times when I first came upon it. The sentence is best understood by realizing that the word comprise is followed by a list of three things. There is no comma between the second and third things in the list (i.e., the Oxford comma is missing), an act I don’t approve of but will not condemn.
Hence, the subject of the sentence, pragmatists, is paired with the verb, shy.
Notice also the correct use of the word comprise. Individual parts compose a whole. A whole is composed of its parts. More eloquently, a whole comprises its parts. The Economist knows that the verb to comprise should be used in the active voice.
This post is sponsored by Hamas and the verbs to comprise and to shy.
I started reading the blog Stuff White People Like when it had only one million hits. Today, that number is rapidly approaching twenty million.
The blog is witty, funny, and well-written (excepting occasional grammatical errors). It gently pokes fun at generic white culture. The format is simple: Identify a fairly common facet of white culture, parody it, and then instruct the reader how to use it to his advantage.
The blog’s humor deftly toes racial lines without causing offense (at least on my part) by staying within certain boudaries. Primarily, it resorts to stereotypes that are not always accurate. A quick skim of the comments will show how many “non-white” readers identify with the posts, and vice versa. Secondly, its tone is consistently light-hearted. It’s easy to separate teasing from derision. And lastly, the absurd proposition embedded within every post that this knowledge can be used for one’s advantage highlights the comical aspect of the writing.
In sum, if you ever find yourself donning a North Face jacket, eating an $8 sandwich, studying art or the humanities, attending an Oscar Party, preferring microbreweries, or knowing What Is Best for poor people, then this blog is for you.
A stroll through Central Park sounds delightful, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing this spring and summer, rather than running. It is with sadness that for this season I am retiring the “running” label from the blog. I have forgone this love affair during the spring and summer of 2007 owing to a festering knee injury.
After a few months’ rest, I thought I was on the mend. I even started a disciplined running regimen to slowly get back into the sport and strengthen the sinews of my joint. On day one, I jogged 100 paces around the track. On day three, I went 110 paces. The next time, it was 121 paces, and then 133, increasing by 10% each time. I made it to 146 paces before the inflammatory pain came and stayed for a week.
These days, a quick sprint across Broadway to catch a bus can be felt a few days later. And so the running and the writing about running must draw to a close. Perhaps the autumn will bring fresh stamina. Until then, I’ll stick to the weights at the gym and maybe even venture over to the elliptical machines once in a while, staying well out of sight of the beloved treadmill.
Many days and nights have passed since I last logged in to blogger.com. A few months, indeed, have gone by; and although I never had any intention of abandoning Mulberry Street, there were times when I feared I’d crossed that critical point in time after which I’d never return. Were my faithful readers–you know who you are, EK, MG, DGH, Mom–forever to stare vacantly at “A good post call day” and ponder my Pulitzer-worthy surreptitious photo of the retired gentlemen in the chess shop?
No. I’m back. And armed with new ideas and experiences, I’m ready to write. About grammar…poetry…The Economist…and life in general in this amazing City of New York.