Two items for your attention, the second in several parts. First: ‘This is where you get to be a bigot’, written by John E. McIntyre on his excellent You Don’t Say blog at the Baltimore Sun. Mr McIntyre explains when dogma is justifiable and when it is mere bigotry buttressed by popular but misinformed opinion:
Education in grammar and usage and the popular understanding of these matters have been damaged by the dogmatic rigidity of teachers and the peeving class: the insistence that there is only one “proper” form of English, the standard written; adherence to a set of “rules,” many of them bogus; and an implied and unwarranted belief that upholding such standards constitutes intellectual, social, and moral superiority.
I recommend that you read the full post if you haven’t already; it is short, witty, and thoroughly sound.
Second: You might have seen my recent flurry of articles about metaphor for Macmillan Dictionary Blog. If you didn’t, and you’re curious, I’ve collected them here. I mention them again because metaphor is receiving a lot of attention in the news media at the moment after IARPA, a US intelligence research agency, announced its intention to begin a five-year “Metaphor Program” [PDF, 351 KB] in November.
The project, according to IARPA, “will exploit the fact that metaphors are pervasive in everyday talk and reveal the underlying beliefs and worldviews of members of a culture.” Michael Cooney summarises the story, Alexis Madrigal takes a closer look in the Atlantic, while Lane Greene adds his thoughts in the Economist.
Michael Rosen is more sceptical, suggesting that “the more [the spooks] pin down and describe a metaphor, the more they will find that they have pinned down and described themselves”.
One to keep an eye on. Metaphorically.