Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

This is the Halloween edition of GlobalWatchWatch. And it is pretty scary.


How does a fully educated adult, fancying himself a novelist, make it to a point where he can produce 350 pages of text, and still not know the difference between "everyday" and "every day"?

To be clear: "Every day" is an adverbial phrase, and "everyday" is an adjective. You can read about this distinction here.

You'll notice I haven't posted for the past few days. I've been wrestling with an issue: Is this blog really addressing the cause of bad writing in Global Watch?
Yes, it is true, the person who typed in Global Watch made a conscious choice, without a gun to his head (which was my initial theory, by the way), to produce this dreck, create a blog, and sell it on Amazon. But as this blog has shown, he is oblivious to rules of grammar and good writing. Such obliviousness is rarely deliberate.
To some extent, he is the product of his environment. The schools he attended clearly did not instill in him a sense of the importance of how to write well. Nor did they identify his deficient skills and try to improve them. At the very least, his teachers could have recognized his lack of talent and ridiculed him until he was too demoralized to try to write a novel.

Poor Global Watch. I think he should sue Emory University, which he attended for his undergraduate education, and where bad habits such as these should have been corrected and remedied. The teachers there let him down, and yet took his tuition money and student fees without teaching him vital skills that could help him in this endeavor. Emory University should be ashamed that they let this person attend there for four years and graduate, producing nothing better than the horror that is Global Watch.

This leads me to this quote by the great Flannery O'Connor:
Everywhere I go, I’m asked if the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.


Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Acting



I jolly well hope that was acting. It's not going to win any Oscars, but "acting" is the only excuse for speaking that way.

Also, Global Watch, "Rachel's new pet name" is in a bad place in the sentence. It's shoehorned in there, in a manner that brings to mind the colloquialism, "five pounds of sh** in a three-pound bag."

We conclude this episode of GlobalWatchWatch by pointing out the misspelling of "possess." As it reads now, the word is the plural of "posse," which is another foreign word Global Watch does not know how to use.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another French error

I've pointed this out before , but I'll repeat it: Global Watch should learn to use English words properly before trying to use French.


It's a pretty simple rule: Suppose a man and a woman are engaged to be married. The man is the fiancé. The woman is the fiancée.

The other egregious error is in "try to save." It should be of similar construction to "infiltrated this paramilitary group." Thus, the sentence should read:
His fiancée, (well, ex-fiancée), was going to be the one who would infiltrate this paramilitary group and try to save the day.

See how easy that was? It's Sunday morning. I've had little coffee, and the engine in my brain is just starting to turn over. Yet, I've vastly improved this one paragraph of Global Watch. Imagine somebody with real motivation going through every line of Global Watch, and catching these errors and fixing them so that the whole thing reads better. Imagine that, person who typed in Global Watch.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Death to society!"


The tragic thing about this paragraph is that the person who typed in Global Watch views the world this way. He thinks that there are ancient societies of anarchists running around wanting to kill society. Their plans involve futile attempts. Why would anyone PREPARE a futile attempt at ANYTHING? "Comrades, our plan to X will fail, and will result in Y number of deaths. Who's with me?"

I am, admittedly, intrigued by this group. Their mission statement probably reads something like:
"Our goal is to stockpile weapons in Brazil, and prepare futile attempts to get rid of organized government. We are an ancient society of anarchists, and have been doing this for a long time. As part of getting rid of government, we also will kill society."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Lincoln Memorial

This is what it looks like.

This is the setting for a very important scene in Global Watch.
The President is slated to give a speech in front of this memorial, but his role in the worldwide conspiracy gets exposed. Under the Great Emancipator's approving gaze, the people rise up and overthrow his tyranny.
Here's how the person who typed in Global Watch describes these events.

See the error here?
As anyone can deduce from the picture I posted, there is no building or hall or room in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Now, I'll give Global Watch the benefit of the doubt and think he just forgot that he had placed the President in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and absent-mindedly had the action take place in some hall or room or building away from the National Mall. But I can't let this one go.
In an interview about Global Watch, the person who typed it in had this to say:
"readers from the D.C. metro area will feel right at home."
No, they won't. Readers from the D.C. metro area will probably think, "Has this joker ever BEEN to the Lincoln Memorial?"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Oval Office is not an auditorium.

Where did Global Watch learn about the White House?
I don't know.
I can't explain this scene, in which the President gives an address from what Global Watch refers to as the Oval Office.


I don't think the Oval Office can accommodate a stage and dozens of reporters and news cameras.
I just don't.
Something tells me I should verify this and post pictures and dimensions here to prove my point. But, in all honesty...who do you think is right here: me or Global Watch?

I thought so.

Added atrocity: "one of the world's most powerful alliances on earth."

Monday, October 19, 2009

I needed a break.

Sorry for my absence.
That last post really did a number on my health.
But I've returned, and found this piece of hackery. I'll set the scene for you.
The President of the United States has been exposed as a murderer, and has shot himself in front of a large crowd at the Lincoln Memorial. And, action...

This seems like an important moment, right? This is the kind of moment where a speaker, faced with the monumental task of bringing a nation out of the night of chaos and uncertainty, has to deliver a great speech. I'm no great historian, but I would imagine such a speech would have to be memorable and powerful and well written.
Think "Gettysburg Address."
Think "Day of Infamy."
Think "Long national nightmare."

What does Global Watch give us, at this fictional crossroads of history? Cliff's notes. The person who typed in Global Watch might as well have written "Presidential suicide yadda yadda yadda rebuilding times and bright future." This is the equivalent of a history book talking about the 1963 March on Washington, and rather than printing the "I have a dream" speech, giving the following description:

Lots of people came to Washington. Martin Luther King, Jr. told them about what he thought of the American ideal of equality. America was going to be OK.


This paragraph illustrates another problem I have with Global Watch: It tries to involve complex history and important institutions, but presents them in a way that trivializes them. Dammit, Global Watch, if you're going to kill off two presidents in a book, at least give us a great speech. Don't simply tell us that it will all be fine.

Speaking of great speeches, here's an excerpt from one that I think describes Global Watch perfectly:
"it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Friday, October 16, 2009

This hurts.

I am posting this while in the fetal position, between vomit sessions, while I pull out my toenails just to distract myself from the headache this paragraph has caused.

87 chapters? The Book of Revelation doesn't have 87 chapters, and actually makes the end of the world seem kind of interesting. 87 chapters into Global Watch, I started hoping for nuclear war.

Wolf Blitzer again, Global Watch? Like The Whore of Babylon and the Book of Revelation, Global Watch wouldn't be complete without Wolf Blitzer. Please, Global Watch, kill Wolf off in the sequel. That's all I ask. Just please stop using him.

Oh, criminy. I'm glad I don't have an icepick nearby. I would drive it through my eyes right now.

In a way, these things almost make "banned" and "superpower's" tolerable, if only by comparison.

Pray for me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Adjectives

Ho hum. Another paragraph with multiple errors in it.

Still, there is a lesson here for the person who typed in Global Watch.
Think about what your adjectives are modifying.

For instance, consider the sentence, "She then proceeded to break the vase over the unsuspecting head of Mikhailov, knocking him out."

Is Mikhailov's head "unsuspecting?" Are separate parts of Mikhailov's body capable of sentient thought and awareness? If Rachel had hit him in the leg, would the phrase have read "the unsuspecting leg of Mikhailov?" No. It is Mikhailov who is unsuspecting, and Global Watch should have written this sentence better.*


* Which is kind of like saying Jeffrey Dahmer's parents should have spent more time with him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Writing 101

Aside from the sloppy editing and lazy wording, my biggest complaint with Global Watch is demonstrated by this paragraph.


One of the first things writers learn is to show, don't tell.
Here's a useful, understandable primer on this maxim.
In describing a scene, a writer should use vivid language to paint the picture in the mind of the reader. The person who typed in Global Watch does way too much telling over 350 pages.
In this paragraph, he could have thought about explaining the following:
1. What does "magnificent" mean?
2. What is it about the engravings on the bedposts that made them works of art? What are they engravings of?
3. What about the furniture is reminiscent of the Russian Czars? I don't have a lot of education in Russian history, but I'm pretty sure one notable episode involved some violence and Anastasia screaming in vain. Is this what the furniture evokes? Bloodshed? Throw me a clue, Global Watch.

There are far too many paragraphs like this throughout Global Watch, in which the person ends up saying a lot without saying anything at all.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I don't even want to know.



One shudders to think what Global Watch meant by "pubic recognition."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hyphens and Blindfolds.

Following up on yesterday's post, here's another instance of Global Watch using two different forms of a word within a short distance of each other.


But what makes this one special is that neither is correct.
It's "blindfold," Global Watch. No space. No hyphenation. Writing doesn't work like a roulette wheel, where if you place bets on enough numbers you'll eventually get something. You have to know what you're doing. It also helps to take off your blindfold and look at what you've just typed.

Friday, October 9, 2009

White House.



Sweet Georgia Brown.
How do you arrive at the conclusion that "White House" is one word, change your mind and decide that it's actually two words, and leave the first mistake uncorrected, all in the same paragraph?

Maybe the person who typed in Global Watch wasn't very good at Concentration as a kid. He was probably so bad all the other kids made fun of him. And maybe that experience traumatized him so much he dedicated himself to becoming a famous writer and showing them all. Well, Global Watch. That plan didn't work out so well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Gentleman"

This is getting embarrassing.


How do you make the same error four times?

As a bonus to my readers, I threw in the line with the f-word. Global Watch typed that word in to let us know that his books deal with real life, man. Kids shouldn't read Global Watch. It's too rough for them. Because Global Watch is raw, man. The characters use the language of the street.


This is the official uniform of Global Watch agents. It's what they wear under their battle suits.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Torpedoes

I struggled for a while with this one.


First, the academic. Global Watch could use some help with apostrophes. "Subs" should be "subs'."

Now, the juvenile. For the life of me, I tried to make a comment about "furry torpedoes" that didn't sound like a junior-high euphemism for something dirty. I can't. Thanks, Global Watch. You stay classy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cyrus the Great

First geography, now history. Is there ANY school subject Global Watch passed?



A casual reader might read that and see no problem. But anybody writing about Cyrus the Great, and having a character who is a professor and brilliant madman speak about Cyrus the Great, would know one important thing about Cyrus the Great.

In 500 BC, he was dead.
Having died 30 years earlier.

It took me two minutes to find this piece of information. With Wikipedia.

Would you read a novel about the late 19th century in which the author tells you that Abraham Lincoln was alive in 1895? No, you would not. Unless you were dumb. Maybe Global Watch thinks you are dumb. I know I feel dumber after reading Global Watch.

Final note, upon further review: Cripes. How many times do you need to use the word "empire?"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sorry for the absence

Contrary to rumor, I was not spirited away to Global Watch headquarters to have a grammatically flawed, haltingly phrased conversation with the agents there.
Here's this week's first slinging of Global Watch badness.


Two missing commas and "Stated" for "States."

I feel the need to reiterate myself for any new readers. It is not these specific errors that make me writhe in pain. It is that Global Watch is so full of these errors that I have been able to carry on this blog with a new posting every day (more or less) since August 22. That is more than 30 paragraphs with some sort of error in them. Most grievously, it is that the person who typed in Global Watch expects you to give him money.

Fie, I say. Fie.