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How the Grisham Stole Christmas (Read 454 times)
Gary A. Markette
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How the Grisham Stole Christmas
Dec 17th, 2009, 5:52am
 
No one, it seems, avoids gross errors--not professional editors, not Best Selling authors, and certainly not New York Times selectors. I've been reading John Grisham's Playing for Pizza over the past few days: a pleasant bit of fluff--light-hearted and airy; not the usual Grisham fare. I was enjoying it on lunch and potty breaks--no pressure for this one--when I came across this sentence:

"In a country where laws are flaunted and those who flaunt them are often glamorized, the pursuit by the police . . ."

The word Grisham wants, here, is "flouted"--not "flaunted." It's one of those "commonly misused words" that Strunk warns about in Elements of Style. Had I seen this gross error in a short story submitted to anotherealm, I would have immediately rejected it. Yet, there it was, smudging the pages of a best selling novel.

To be fair: Grisham is usually competent. But he should have caught this. If not he, then certainly his editor should have caught it. No publisher should have printed it.  What does it say about the state of our language when one of the top writers of our era does this? What does it say for the editor who passed it? I'll tell you what it says for me--it says take some Pepto and lay down.

Woe to the Republic! To Grisham and to all writers out there: PROOFREAD, DAMMIT!
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Webbie
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Re: How the Grisham Stole Christmas
Reply #1 - Dec 17th, 2009, 7:22am
 
Quote:
What does it say about the state of our language when one of the top writers of our era does this?


I saw a recent article claiming kids these days can't read "longhand" cursive script that the "old folks" use.  :-/

State of our language indeed.
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Re: How the Grisham Stole Christmas
Reply #2 - Dec 17th, 2009, 11:39am
 
Webbie wrote on Dec 17th, 2009, 7:22am:
Quote:
What does it say about the state of our language when one of the top writers of our era does this?


I saw a recent article claiming kids these days can't read "longhand" cursive script that the "old folks" use.  :-/

State of our language indeed.

Usage Note:  Flaunt as a transitive verb means "to exhibit ostentatiously": She flaunted her wealth. To flout is "to show contempt for": She flouted the proprieties. For some time now flaunt has been used in the sense "to show contempt for," even by educated users of English. This usage is still widely seen as erroneous and is best avoided.
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