My recent experience with "WIRED" magazine reminded me of the last time I wrote a letter to the editor, with much poorer results. The re-posted narrative (from the SaysSimpleton archive room, Oct 4, 2006):
One day, as was the custom, I was reading the editorial and noticed a small, inconsequential grammatical mistake. I then got the brilliant idea of writing in a letter of complaint railing against such syntagmatic atrocities. After minutes on end, I had crafted a letter that I was sure would alter the written and verbal character of our university. The original letter that I sent in read like this:
Dear Editor, after reading the editorial section of the October 21st Pine log, I feel compelled to respond. My concern has nothing to do with the content of the column, but rather with its grammatical integrity.
What served as the catalyst four this elevation of interest can bee understood after looking closely at the 90th word in thee editorial column titled "Presidency versus the Crown." Now eye have been content too hold my tongue the entire duration of my SFA residency regarding articles in the Pine Log; how ever, the nature of this violation is moor then eye can bear. The author of the abovementioned column has confused the chronological and comparative essence of the words "then" and "than."
I would think that grammar would not be an issue for the editor of a collegiate level publication, but I guess I am not write two think in such a weigh. This may knot seem offensive too sum readers, butt this kind of semantic confusion could lead to mayhem. What if this practice became a trend? Just imagine if some random guy told his girlfriend, "I love you more 'then' other girls." This would mean that he loved her more at one time . . . but, then moved on to greener pastures! One can sea what this could lead two. On the hole, I think the Pine Log is grate. Furthermore, I hope this letter is helpful in making the Pine Log a better publication by illustrating the importance of heightened grammatical integrity and warning against the egregious affects of not successfully proof-reading one's article. It is plane to sea thee importance of this correspondence.
P.S. Ewe won't really have two edit this letter. I sent it thru the spell-chequer ate times and it didn't catch a single air err.
A few days later, I got a nasty email from the editor saying that they reserved the right to edit all of the letters they publish "for clarity" and length. I thought this spelled the death of my deftly crafted narration of my complaint. However, the next week, this is published in my name:
However, next Tuesday there I was reading about how "the Parking problem has effected student attitudes," and therefore returned to (or rather simply acknowledged) my plebeian, pawn-like influence in the world of ideas. I think I can trace my low journalistic and sometimes political efficacy to this very moment. Two years later, every time I detect grammatical inconsistency in news publications, the wound in my heart cuts just a little deeper as I remember the time I tried and failed to change the world.
Verification for this rant: