Getting What's Coming to Me

I usually listen to Q100's The Bert Show on my way to work in the mornings. More than half the time, the Bert Show blows, being a cross between a Jerry Lewis telethon and the Jerry Springer show, with the very worst of The View thrown in. Other times, however, it's like one of those rare and beautiful AA meetings where they actually have Splenda for the coffee and the stories rival Faulkner. During these other times, I can endure Melissa's freaky cackling over Jeff's stale fart jokes, Bert's self-aggrandizing over his good deeds, and Jenn's bawling because her friends with children don't properly appreciate her professional status. Why? Because the man who agreed to take the heat for his neighbor who was surfing midget porn makes it worth my suffering.

Regardless of the content, though, one thing is always the same. The hosts of the show butcher American English, screwing the most fundamental rules of grammar, using words that don't exist, and exhibiting all the command of a high school cheerleader with a reading tutor. And I'm not talking about the abysmal "conversate," which some argue for as colloquial. Think concoctions like "comfortability." Then heap every possible permutation of "get my blank on": Get my drink on, get my party on, get my tan on, get my smooth on, get my sex on...These folks are in their mid-thirties, mind you, and they still use "like" every other word and refer to each other as "dude," bad habits I try hard to ignore for the pleasure of hearing the caller who plans to crash the quinceanera of the teen her husband is seeing on the side.

Yesterday, though, I guess the lackluster interview with Andrew Morton wasn't satisfying enough to make it worth overlooking the show's faults. I snapped. What can I say? I rushed off an email to Jenn Hobby--a rant, if you will, that made her none too happy. Her heartfelt response has inspired me to take pause. In the service of full disclosure, I thought I should share our correspondence:

From: tania@portfoliocenter.com
Subject: Raising the Bar
Date: January 17, 2008 11:56:28 AM EST
To: JHobby@AllTheHitsQ100.com

Since Q100 is about to reach even more listeners, you might consider a little grammar refresher course. This morning, for instance, you said, "Melissa and I's interview with ...."
and you referred to the Tom Cruise biography as a "novel" during the interview itself. You do that me/I thing all the time, by the way--all of you, and it's extremely annoying.

It should have been Melissa's and my interview...Or if that's too complicated, try simply OUR interview.

Here's a tip: Mom took Melissa and ME to the store. (Mom took Melissa to the store. Mom took me to the store. Mom did not take I to the store.)

However, Melissa and I are going to the store. (Melissa is going to the store. I am going to the store. Me ain't going to the store.)

I love reality TV and listening to radio shows like yours to hear about the ridiculous situations people get themselves into. It's fun and entertaining. Your listeners/callers are really the stars of the show. I'm not some cerebral smarty-pants, in other words. But you guys, taking the lead, should do your best not to make the South look like a bunch of idiots lacking in basic language skills.

From: jenn@allthehitsq100.com
Subject: Re: Raising the Bar
Date: January 17, 2008 9:35:49 PM EST
To: tania@portfoliocenter.com

I would be happy to accept your criticism, if it didn't come with so much condescension. I was nervous in the hosting role today and was doing my best. If I mixed up my words and it irritated you, I apologize and will certainly try to improve. I would, however, challenge you to remember your own short comings before you click send on such a mean-spirited message in the future. You are sitting upon quite an ugly high horse. The view from up there must be blurring your memory of manners and common courtesy.

From: tania@portfoliocenter.com
Subject: Re: Raising the Bar
Date: January 17, 2008 10:31:47 PM EST
To: jenn@allthehitsq100.com

Dear Jenn,

I'll give that some thought and try to work on my manners. But shortcomings is one word.



M. RuPere said...

and the link to midget porn is . . . . ? (don't be a tease now)

Collin said...

One of the funniest posts ever. That last zinger on spelling short comings is brilliant. Did she respond?

Tania Rochelle said...

Rupert, I'm sorry I don't have that link. I'm sure you'd put it to good use.

Collin, she did not!

e! said...

Wow! I am afraid to write anything else...

Tania Rochelle said...

No, no, no, E! In a blog like this, full of relaxed and haphazard exchanges, no one expects much attention to grammar, etc.

I think it's different when you're on the radio or TV--the same way it's different in a published book. In other words, there are professional arenas, and there are the lay forums.

At ease, my dear.

The Big Fat Grammar Po-Po said...

Let's all write her!

This subject is dear to my heart, of course, what with my being an Anguish teacher and all.

Just between you and I (haha), that subjective "I" substituted for the objective "me" drives me NUTS!!!! People who use it almost always do so with smugness and aplomb. You can see in their self-congratulatory attitude the certainty that really educated people always use "I" no matter what.

With that said, correcting grammar is generally met with defensiveness, but if she's going to be on the radio, she should be more appreciative of your advice and less accusatory. You were not in the least bit mean-spirited. And I will contend that her defense that "nerves" caused her to "mix up her words" is feeble at best. One either knows the rules of grammar, or one does not. And, methinks, Jenn is in the latter camp.

(P.S. There's also a pronoun reference infraction in "if I mixed up my words and it irritated you" since "it" must refer to a noun and not a verb.)

Tania Rochelle said...


Thanks for getting my back.

ButtonHole said...

You're welcome! :)

Those folks need to get their grammar on.

Montgomery Maxton said...

punch her out with poetry.

Jennifer said...

You are such a badass, T!!! That's why I love you! Especially when you get your bitch on!

Nicholas said...

Once again you are my hero.

A said...

i love it.

Ty said...

I know I'm going to regret this, but I can't be a cheerleader on this one. I struggle with the nuances of grammar on a daily basis and I understand the importance of addressing grammatical mistakes. Tanya, I applaud you for doing that.

On the flip side, you also have to take in consideration that it's really embarassing to be told you're gramatically incorrect. How you approach the act of correction goes along way. In my opinion, yor email was bit condescending. Maybe that's how you roll (I'm almost thirty. Can I still use "roll?") and you shouldn't apologize for that. However, I can see how some could take offense to what was written.

That's my two cents. I'm probably going to get bashed for speaking my mind (I can see the red pens out now), but I'm getting used to it, so fire away.

Tania Rochelle said...

You're not on the radio, Ty! And in my mind, I wasn't writing to a person, I was writing to a personality. I'd have handled it differently otherwise.

Besides, the Po-Po nailed it with her comment on the smugness and aplomb. That's it! Every time I hear them use I when they should use me, it smacks of that.

Granted, I could have been nicer about it.

Collin said...

And Ty, you spelled Tania wrong.


ButtonHole said...

And "along" should be two words! LOL

Really, kindness is so overrated..

But.....what about Saturday things I might now know???

Tania Rochelle said...

And he misspelled embarrassing, but I wasn't going to mention any of these things.

Roy G. Biv said...

Yes, yes, the mnemonic device for embarrassing: two robbers at Sing Sing.

Anonymous said...

Wait!!! I thought a blog like this was full of relaxed and haphazard exchanges, and no one expects much attention to grammar, etc. If that is the case, why is poor ty getting the once over for a couple of mistakes?

Tania Rochelle said...

He misspelled my name!

Kevin M. Scarbrough said...

It is for this very reason I always say English is my second language.

Miss Ann Thrope said...

Because, Anon E. Mouse, that is NOT the case. You have been misinformed.

ads. said...

YES!!! ALL HAIL, THE MIGHTY TANIA AND GREAT GRAMMAR PO-PO for bearing the grammarical torch to light the way for "dem dat ain't got no learnin'".....Although most people (probably) don't like being corrected, I thought the response carried more venom than the original statement (advantage-T).

Oh, and I thought short comings WAS a link to midget porn....

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Ann Thrope,
If you refer to the top of the comment page you will notice that the author made the exact comment. So who is misinformed?

ButtonHole said...




funniest pun!!!!!!

bravo, ads!!!!

Ms. A. Thrope said...

You are.

This thing is out of the author's hands at this point. She is a mere effigy. It's whatcha do, not whatcha say.

Tania Rochelle said...

We've never made a habit of busting comment posters here.

It was the name thing...

I really hate that Y.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Six minutes on your response to my comment. Another lonely night with your computer?

Anonymous said...

That was for Miss Ann!!!

Busy-Most-Saturdays Ann said...

Well, no, not exactly, Mouse. That last post was sent via my iPhone. I had just been to the star-studded Grammar Awards (look for my red carpet photos on TMZ) and was just getting in the limousine to hop my private plane for skiing in Banff when I decided to take a few seconds to whip off a response. I have so many people clamouring for my attention, as you can imagine, and when I find myself with a couple of minutes to spare, naturally I gravitate toward TanIa's blog to check out what's goin down.

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