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1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 1:38 pm UTC
by squall_line
Image

Title Text: "'The world's greatest [whatever]' is subjective, but 'One of the world's greatest [whatever]s' is clearly objective. Anyway, that's why I got you this 'one of the world's greatest moms' mug!"

This is one of the latest times that a comic has been posted, and one of the first times I have posted a new comic thread.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 1:43 pm UTC
by Brace
This post had objectionable content.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 1:54 pm UTC
by mr-mitch
I dunno. I've always thought the most recognisable arch of St. Louis was on his left foot.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 1:58 pm UTC
by GreenTom
This always seemed to me to be a nod to rigor: never make a factual statement that you can't source.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 2:17 pm UTC
by cellocgw
This is one of the funniest xkcd comix ever.


This is also one of the least-funny xkcd comix ever.

This is one of the frist times I've posted a not-frist post. (I can't untangle that -- can anyone else?)

Hey, it could be, and often is worse. Tell me you haven't heard some talking head say ".... this is one of the most unique ..." :(

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 2:42 pm UTC
by doomvox
The point here is that hedging when you don't need to hedge isn't
a sign of being reasonable, it's a sign of trying to sound
reasonable-- making a statement that's weaker than it needs to be
isn't being more precise, but less.

And if this bugs you, you should forget about writing for
wikipedia, where your fellow "editors" think they can detect
bias just by wording even if they know nothing about the
subject.

(Wait-- Funny? Is xkcd supposed to be funny?)

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 2:45 pm UTC
by Coyne
Yes, yes, yes, yes!

Someone else notices! I hate this in all its variations. It's like saying:

"Mount Everest, one of the tallest mountains on Earth."
"Our Sun, one of the most important stars we see in our sky."
"Earth, the world on which we live and which we see as one of the most important solid objects in the universe!"

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 2:47 pm UTC
by Number3Pencils
Boy, do I ever hate this too. I've noticed it and gotten annoyed about it and rrgh.

I'm kind of mystified as to why a reporter would currently be doing a story about Eero Saarinen (d. 1961) or Hannskarl Bandel (d. 1993), the designers of the Gateway Arch.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 2:52 pm UTC
by mathmannix
Another one of the most recognizable arches in St. Louis:

Spoiler:
Image
(I just took this picture with Google Maps street view. It is the McDonald's on 13th Avenue, the closest one to the Arch.)

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 2:54 pm UTC
by J L
It's probably even one of the 5 most recognizable arches around.

(And it's one of the many instances as of late that made me think of http://xkcd.com/1283/ ...)

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:29 pm UTC
by writerbenjamin
I would think that the many Golden Arches would be the more recognizable than the Gateway Arch. "One of the" is appropriate here.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:42 pm UTC
by suso
Usually all claims in the media of being the first, last, only, fastest, slowest, biggest or smallest just means that the claimant didn't do enough research.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:54 pm UTC
by BunsenH
For many people, the most recognizable arches in St. Louis are the golden ones. :-(

One of my pet peeves is people unnecessarily hedging with the indeterminate-gender pronoun "they" to refer to a specific individual of known sex.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:56 pm UTC
by Whizbang
This is one of the first XKCD comics I read today.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 4:02 pm UTC
by cellocgw
BunsenH wrote:One of my pet peeves is people unnecessarily hedging with the indeterminate-gender pronoun "they" to refer to a specific individual of known sex.


Which reminds me: here and there, 'progressive language' folks use the work "xe." I assumed from the context that this is a gender-neutral singular pronoun which, unlike "it," suggests the object in question has a gender. Is this correct? And if so, what pronouns does one use for transgenders, hermaphrodites, etc?
(ok, I'm running for cover now)

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 4:14 pm UTC
by iabervon
The xkcd store needs to sell "One of the world's greatest mothers" mugs.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 4:16 pm UTC
by ctdonath
Finally I can vent one long-running peeve:

Subaru commercials declaring "still the first sport utility wagon".
No kidding. If was temporally first, nothing is going to displace that without a freakin' time machine.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 4:19 pm UTC
by chridd
cellocgw wrote:Which reminds me: here and there, 'progressive language' folks use the work "xe." I assumed from the context that this is a gender-neutral singular pronoun which, unlike "it," suggests the object in question has a gender. Is this correct? And if so, what pronouns does one use for transgenders, hermaphrodites, etc?
I don't think such pronouns imply that the person has gender, any more than any other reference to a person implies that the person has a gender. (He/she or (s)he would have more of an implication that the person has a gender.) The difference between xe/ze/etc. and it, at least to me, is that xe etc. are animate, whereas it is inanimate.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 4:37 pm UTC
by Envelope Generator
You call that a pet peeve? Puny. The Gateway Arch is one of the only arches in St. Louis.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 4:49 pm UTC
by stoppedcaring
Envelope Generator wrote:You call that a pet peeve? Puny. The Gateway Arch is one of the only arches in St. Louis.

Actually, given the number of little pewter paperweight arches sold in gas stations and souvenir shops in St. Louis...

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 5:08 pm UTC
by EpicanicusStrikes
This is actually about as close as journalism will get to responsible use of hyperbole. They can't say it's 'the' most recognizable arch as that's nearly impossible to quantify in the first place. Converting that to 'one of the' disguises the claim in professionalism, but is still on the wrong side of reporting.

They should instead say 'the highly recognizable', or 'the historic' if they need to punch up their writing.

Should... a lot has changed since my last journalism class. It used to be considered taboo for reporters to insert themselves into a story. These days it's entirely too common. 'Seems like most of what I learned back then has become obsolete in the face of connecting to an audience/chasing ratings.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 5:29 pm UTC
by jigawatt
Where does that reporter get off even calling it "one of the"? Does he have the results of a poll?

No. He's assuming that most everyone would include it as "one of the". If he's willing to make that assumption, he would have no problem assuming most everyone would call it just "the".

As an aside, I live near and work in St. Louis. We're celebrating the 250th birthday of the city this year and there are 250 little fiberglass birthday cake arches all over the metro area - stl250.org They're calling it [groan] "Cakeway to the West".

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 5:30 pm UTC
by Whizbang
EpicanicusStrikes wrote:Should... a lot has changed since my last journalism class. It used to be considered taboo for reporters to insert themselves into a story. These days it's entirely too common. 'Seems like most of what I learned back then has become obsolete in the face of connecting to an audience/chasing ratings.


I detest1 watching the news for this very reason. Stop chatting and get on with the reporting. If I wanted to watch Good Morning America, I would have. And what's all this garbage with mobile weather units going "on location" whenever a snowflake hits the ground, interviewing every plow truck driver and pedestrian they can find? Also, if you are going to have the token blond chick with a great rack as co-anchor, at least be honest and just zoom in on those puppies while she speaks.

1In an apathetic way.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 5:49 pm UTC
by ilduri
BunsenH wrote:...people unnecessarily hedging with the indeterminate-gender pronoun "they" to refer to a specific individual of known sex.

(Pedantry warning)

Actually, gendered pronouns are not chosen on the basis of a person's sex, but on the basis of their gender. Sex refers to what chromosomes\genitals\gonads a person was born with; gender refers to wether someone is a man or a woman (or neither). Sex and gender don't always align: not all men have penises, not all women have XX chromosomes, and so on. It may be pedantic, but the distinction between sex and gender becomes pretty important around folks who are intersex, transgender, or transsexual.

cellocgw wrote:here and there, 'progressive language' folks use the word "xe."

Both xe and it are gender-neutral, the difference is that xe is personal whereas it is impersonal. Xe is especially useful in refering to the "neither"s mentioned above, because singular they sounds weird when refering to a specific person.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 5:53 pm UTC
by Mikeski
chridd wrote:The difference between xe/ze/etc. and it, at least to me, is that xe etc. are animate, whereas it is inanimate.

That's a rat's nest, too. Ask someone who knows Japanese about the difference between iru and aru. ("to be", for animate and inanimate things.) When the zombie apocalypse comes, you don't want to be arguing whether a zombie is "xe" or "it". You'll just get your brains eaten.

If that's too clear-cut, what about a virus? A venus flytrap? A slime mold? A sunflower? A robot? A (human) sperm cell & egg cell?

(And, as always, I'll mention that one could remember a singular gender-free pronoun that has been used and understood for a very long time, if one tries. One doesn't have to torture another redundant word into the language.)

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 6:03 pm UTC
by PSUnderwood
For even greater annoyance, preface "one of the" with "arguably".

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 6:10 pm UTC
by omgryebread
Mikeski wrote:(And, as always, I'll mention that one could remember a singular gender-free pronoun that has been used and understood for a very long time, if one tries. One doesn't have to torture another redundant word into the language.)
"One" is indefinite, we need a definite pronoun.

I ran into Alex the other day. One said one would be at the concert this weekend.
Doesn't make a whole lot of sense. "One" is never used to refer to someone specifically. It could be of course, we can make words do whatever we goddamn want them to, but there's a much easier, more natural change.

I ran into Alex the other day. They said they'd be at the concert this weekend.
Incorrect according to some people, but perfectly understandable and natural sounding.

And as for redundant words... that seems an odd, strange, curious, weird, and bizarre objection to have.


Back on topic, my brother briefly worked as an intern at a newspaper, where he spent a lot of time looking at letters to the editor. Apparently you'd be surprised how many complaints they get about completely trivial stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if you'd get letters contesting the fact that the arch is St. Louis's most recognizable.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 6:18 pm UTC
by Mikeski
"Alex" might be both a male and female name, but a specific Alex would be "he" or "she". No need to try to get "one" to work there.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 6:19 pm UTC
by chris857
What about the St. Louis Arches?

City Museum has some arches you can crawl in!

This too is in St. Louis.
Image


The reporter's caution is justified.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 6:31 pm UTC
by cellocgw
PSUnderwood wrote:For even greater annoyance, preface "one of the" with "arguably".


And with " actually ."

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 6:36 pm UTC
by speising
"after killing the woman the alledged perpetrator ...."

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 7:01 pm UTC
by dp2
cellocgw wrote:
PSUnderwood wrote:For even greater annoyance, preface "one of the" with "arguably".


And with " actually ."

I was actually just searching the page to actually see how many times "actually" had already actually been used. I was actually surprised to see it was actually only four.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 7:42 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
Arguing that "they" is plural is for people who've given up the fight over "you" (I'm still waiting for "all of all y'all" to emerge as "all y'all" drifts into also covering the singular)

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 8:00 pm UTC
by xxnnss
Mmm. One half of the most recognizable arches in St. Louis.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 8:12 pm UTC
by helo darqness
The thing I hate about this is when they say something like, "one of the most expensive construction projects" or something, I inevitably and immediately want to know the superlative THE most. It drives me fucking nuts.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 8:13 pm UTC
by da Doctah
Envelope Generator wrote:You call that a pet peeve? Puny. The Gateway Arch is one of the only arches in St. Louis.

Fortunately, this usage is becoming increasingly less common.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 8:21 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
This is one of my first posts in this thread.

Sorry, I meant, this is a very early post of mine in this thread.

Maybe I should just say it's possible the first post of mine in this thread?

I'm pretty sure it will be widely regarded as my first post in this thread, at the least.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 8:50 pm UTC
by orthogon
That it has an arch is one of the few things I know about St Louis. This morning, I didn't even know that. I did know, however, that it is one surprisingly few US cities with an eponymous blues.

BTW, is the "s" silent?

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 9:07 pm UTC
by Showsni
To be fair to him, I probably wouldn't have recognised a picture of the Gateway Arch, whereas a picture of a McDonalds logo based in St. Louis would have been easily recognisable.

Of course, saying something is one of something is about as useful as telling you the Arch is visited by up to ten thousand people or more each year.

Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 9:47 pm UTC
by Brace
This post had objectionable content.