Thursday, February 04, 2010

Again With The Capitalization Problems

So, it turns out that Tim Graham is an idiot, who surely failed 4th grade English. (In a few places below, he's quoting others who also, apparently, failed 4th grade English, but neither did he correct the errors, either with brackets or the use of "sic.")

I noted the U.S. Air Force Academy was making a public space for pagan worship, and wondered if the media would notice. Fox’s Special Report noted it on Monday, quoting a Catholic priest who disapproved. . . .

The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has now set aside a new outdoor worship area for followers of earth-centered religions. That includes pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans.
[So apparently the umbrella term "Pagan" doesn't get capitalized, nor do the terms "Witches" or "Druids," but Wicca does get a capital letter. I can't find an underlying rule that explains this.]

Sanchez suggested paganism is somehow a brand new idea during his show Rick's List:

Is there a new religion out there that most of us haven't heard of? Time for today's most intriguing.

He runs the Air Force Academy's astronautics labs in Colorado Springs. He also helped turn this double circle of stones into an outdoor chapel for Druids, Wiccans, and followers of other earth- centered religions. He calls it a freedom ring.

Our most intriguing person of the day is Tech Sergeant Brandon Longcrier, who says about half-a-dozen academy cadets are now devout believers, and many more are catching on. Longcrier describes himself as a pagan. This is him use
[ing] [I can't help myself.] white sage to consecrate the circle during the [W]inter [S]olstice. [If "Christmas" gets capitalized, and it does, why not "Winter Solstice" or, the more appropriate term, "Yule"?] Tech Sergeant Brandon Longcrier, intriguing? To say the very least.

Here’s the brief item from Special Report anchor Bret Baier:

The U.S. Air Force Academy is in the final stages of planning a worship area for followers of earth-centered religions, including Wicca and Druidism near its landmark chapel.
[So here, the Druids at least get capitalized, although apparently all "Witches" are now "Wiccans." Again, no underlying logic that I can see. Nor can I see any point to the quotation marks in the next sentence. Would there be quotation marks around "St. Mary's Chapel," or "The Crystal Cathedral"?] The organizer of the "Stone Circle" says there has been no resistance at the academy.

But one Catholic
[oh, yeah, they definitely get a capital letter] priest [Ha! That's a little-p-priest, but, then, it's not an in-quotation-marks-"self-described"-priest, either] calls the decision "politically correct cowardice by bumbling bureaucrats, adding quote "Behind the smoke and mirrors of the supposed high demand for earth worship prayer circles is a small group of activist atheists in America who seek first to water down and then to abolish the name and face of go[d] [Dude, you so missed an opportunity to win a capitalization war, here,] from the public square." [So it turns out that Pagans are atheists. Who knew?]

The academy chaplain says every service member is charged with defending freedom for all Americans, and that includes freedom to practice our religion of choice. The academy also has worship areas for Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists. [OK, all of those guys get capital letters.]

But beyond my obsession with grammar, which has only been intensified by a life in the law where even capitalization matters, Mr. Graham's post is rather disturbing. Noting that some xians already felt compelled to show up and place a cross in the Pagan's Stone Circle (and we can all pause for a moment and consider the reaction should a bunch of Pagans show up and paint Pentagrams all over the "worship areas for Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists"),
this 4th grade failure finds himself constrained to ask: To consult the dictionary, NBC was saying someone "violated the sacred character" of an object or place. What if the viewer at home doesn’t consider a pagan circle to be "sacred"? Timmy, Timmy, Timmy. What if I don't consider the baptismal font of your xian church to be [note the use of quotation marks] "sacred"? Does that mean that leaving Pentacles all over said font is not "desecration"? Are we to assume the xians didn't mean to violate the Pagans' notion that their place was sacred? It's all ok? Because, you know, sauce/goose/gander, and I can find your worship places lots more easily than you can find mine.

Lately, I've seen more and more xians worrying over how unpopular they are. They might want to begin to consider why that is.

Picture, provided for comparison purposes between the stone circle that the Pagans at the Air Force Academy get and the chapel that the xians get (and, yet, the xians felt the need to desecrate the Pagan circle), found here. Weak-ass god, if you ask me.


Anonymous said...

Just look at that picture of the academy chapel, Hecate. Just look at it! All those shiny aluminum beams, stringers, bulkheads, braces, and panels. Look at all those round holes down the middle, both port and starboard. Those round thingies are called "lightening holes" by aviation engineers, although we lay persons would be more likely to call them Buick holes. Somewhere a large zeppelin is missing a lot of parts, perhaps its entire midships gallery. That's why it is sacred to its congregation: they hold sacred the machine of war in all its manifestations. Of course they would never admit this innermost sentiment, but that's the way they roll. Of course they intend to serve their god first. Serving the citizens of the United States is at most an after thought. The proof of that is their intolerance to fellow citizens who see things differently. (I seriously doubt that any of the minority non-xian religions listed above make much use of that aluminum chapel.) The xian cadets' god is a god of force (as in airforce) and domination, reliant on large powerful machines, piloted of course by them after they graduate and go forth. This congregation will never stop to think that an omnipotent deity would have need of neither their services nor their machines. Perhaps they think that they are the wrath of god. If so, they are mistaken. Perhaps the famous RAF pilot and poet was right that with an aircraft you can reach out to "...touch the face of God," but likely very few succeed.

Anonymous Coward

Makarios said...

The standard of literacy in the Newsbusters article is about the same as that displayed on the signs that are so proudly carried at rallies by the teabaggers--or should that be Teabaggers? Anyway, it makes sense once you realize that Graham's intended audience--people who read Newsbusters for information (or what passes for information) rather than for amusement--doesn't care if his writing is literate, or even if it makes sense. All they want is something that will spoon-feed them back their own prejudices and hatreds. And that is what he gives them.

All told, he's not exactly the best possible advertisement for his Alma Mater, Bemidji State University.

The Wizardess epi said...

Hecate, I fully agree about the crap writing. But I can't help but be heartened by the fact that the stone circle exists, especially since I have a daughter applying to the AF Academy. Not that she's a Pagan. At this point she is agnosticish so no worries for her.

And I thought the chapel was a spaceship.