Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pet Pigs and Peeves

Bizarro is brought to you today by Reptilian Lottery Winners.

The stem cell of this cartoon came from another occasional collaborator and dear, dear friend, Richard "Dick" Cabeza. I forgot what his original picture and caption were, but they were similar and I tweaked them into this delectable dealybobber.

This idea appeals to me because it was fun to render the pigs in disguises as they prepare to wreak havoc, but also because of my interest in animal rights, although that by itself would not have been enough to get me to bite on this gag. (so to speak)

Entirely off the subject of this cartoon, "wreak havoc" is one of the most frequently mispronounced terms in modern English. It seems people almost invariably say "wreck" havoc. I can understand the confusion, since "havoc" is often the result of "wrecking," but that isn't the correct phrase. Since ours is a living language (thank god, speaking a dead language is just creepy) it is only a matter of time before "wrecking havoc" will be considered correct. Which, as grammar catastrophes go, isn't such a bad thing. At least it basically means the same thing.

What's much worse is the changing of the term "couldn't care less." The overwhelming majority of Americans say "could care less" when, in fact, they mean "couldn't." This change is regrettable, because it means the opposite of what the speaker intends. Here's how:
If you care about something or someone, like, say, your grandmother or smoking pot, you "could" care less. That is to say, if you care, it is possible to care less.

If you care nothing about something or someone, you could not care less than you already do. Hence, you couldn't care less whether Dick Cheney ever gets out of jail. Just remember: when you're tempted to use this phrase in the common way, use "couldn't".

If that still doesn't make sense, perhaps you could care less about smoking pot, and probably should.

18 comments:

Pagani said...

I guess that's why you're the genius Piraro and not just some funny guy; every cartoon is really a deep, insightful commentary on society - it only LOOKS funny to the untrained eye.

Jeremy said...

Apparently, Michael Phelps' sponsors could care less about him smoking pot. I think it gives him more street cred anyhow.

Not Anonymous said...

Do you know anyone with trained eye, Pagani?

Christina Awesome said...

My sister was just discussing this annoying problem of 'could care less', so i showed it to her and she said THANK YOU!!!
I love grammatically correct people.

isee3dtoo said...

Irregardless, I didn't do (or say) nothing!

FIDO said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
isee3dtoo said...

LOL, This schmuck will let someone else explain the errors in my grammar for you.

Julie said...

Did the ladies at the bridge club appreciate all your grammatical rants, Piraro?

John said...

flammable = inflammable

doug nicodemus said...

that is pretty funny HAHAHA...heh you do a series...what else would be ON the list...corporate farm, meat packing plant...you could call it the 3 little terrorist pigs...they would need a hide out oh a brick house and well...

Lorem Ipsum said...

Hang on a minute... I could care less whether Dick Cheney ever gets out of jail because I care a great deal that he should serve his entire life sentence. And I couldn't care less if people think I'm a nit-picking pedant. No, wait... I care a great deal about that, too.... But maybe I got this backwards, after all? Time to call the therapist again.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the "wreak" vs. "wreck" is just a lazy pronunciation thing. I have a friend with a doctorate in Linguistics and he's noticed the "eh" sound slowly replacing more stressed vowel sounds all of the time. For example, in Portland, OR (where I live), some people are beginning to pronounce "bag" more like the first syllable of "bagel". Annoying, but people are even getting verbally lazy.

ChrisB12 said...

Lazy Americans wreaking havoc with their lazy American language. We Canucks aren't quite that lazy, in fact we tend to add fragments to the ends of sentences in English, eh? BTW: A toque is pronounced 'toook', and a toke is a toke is a toke, no matter what the spell checker thinks!

ChrisB12 said...

What, hath god rot? You have not jailed Dick Cheney at all, have you? So, I could care less until you actually do it. I would care more if you did.

Anonymous said...

"I know not and could care less" is the original line; as for where the line originated, see above.

Rob and Bri said...

I have a similiar pet peeve when someone can't remember another someone's name and says "Oh, what's her/his face?" It is not the face they are trying to remember but the name so I always think they should be saying "Oh, what's her/his name?" instead.
Thanks for letting me get that frustration out.

Carol said...

I am so glad that someone else noticed the whole thng about "could care less" suppose to be "couldn't care less"! I noticed this years back, and now it drives me insane how NO ONE realizes that they are saying the opposite of what they mean! And when i try to correct people, they seem to have no clue what I am talking about.

thanx Dan!

Mesiu said...

You may rest assured that EVERYONE from non-english speaking areas does realize that you are saying the opposite of what you mean.