The English Burns Writes

Dear Bay Weekly:

The review of the movie Date Night in the issue of April 15 is either written in some non-standard version of English grammar, or it has suffered from a glitch of editing. I hope this can be blamed on a computer somewhere, rather than human design.

–Bill Seabrook, Dunkirk

Editor’s reply:

Sounds like film reviewer Mark Burns’ distinctive style has pushed beyond your tolerance limits. Please help me by being more specific. For example, do you mean his aversion to articles, as in —

• “A strong character actor as foil”; and

• “Their on-screen matrimony clicks in comic ode to dull routine”?

Or do you mean his flights of rhetorical fancy, as in the alliterative

• “Yet the pacing putters when the Fosters pause to puzzle out”?

Or do you mean his metaphoric vocabulary, as in

• “There are bright blips of action to which they are tethered”; and

• “couple never seems to elevate beyond a flatline of mild panic”?

Please tell me, and I’ll tell Burns because we all appreciate feedback.

Seabrook’s response:

I don’t have any problem with a distinctive style or flights of rhetorical fancy. What stops me reading is when I have to say, what the heck does that mean?

How does one “puzzle out”?

Can participants in “bright blips of action” be tethered?

“Flatline” makes me think of the opposite of “mild panic”.

If this style is supposed to shock us into new ideas of expression, maybe it just needs to be taken in smaller doses.

Elks Proclaim Youth Week

Dear Bay Weekly:

I wonder if it might be possible to get the attached proclamation published? Any help would be appreciated.

WHEREAS, The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has designated the first week in May as Youth Week to honor America’s Junior Citizens for their accomplishments, and to give fitting recognition of their services to Community and State and nation; and 

WHEREAS, Deale Lodge #2528 will sponsor an observance during that week in tribute to the Junior Citizens of this Community; and 

WHEREAS, no event could be more deserving of our support and participation than one dedicated to these young people who represent the nation’s greatest resource, and who in the years ahead will assume the responsibility for the advancement of our free society; and 

WHEREAS, our Youth need guidance, inspiration, and encouragement which we alone can give in order to help develop those qualities of character essential for future leadership, and go forth to serve America; and 

WHEREAS, to achieve this worthy objective we should demonstrate our partnership with Youth, our understanding of their hopes and aspirations and a sincere willingness to help prepare them in every way for the responsibilities and opportunities of citizenship: 

NOW THEREFORE, I Robert Tucker, President of Deale Lodge #2528 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, do hereby proclaim the first week in May as Youth Week, and urge all departments of government, civic, fraternal and patriotic groups, and our citizens in general, to participate wholeheartedly in its observance. 

–Robert D. Tucker, President: Deale Lodge # 2528