Friday, August 20, 2010

The perfect woman

If Mrs Tulkinghorn finally gets fed up .....

The Guardian reports:

New York professor Lynne Rosenthal, who holds a PhD from Columbia University (it's not clear from news reports where she teaches) has been hailed in some quarters as a folk hero for making a stand against Starbucks' "fascist" use of bad English. A (c0nfrontation) at one of the coffee chain's counters ended with her being led by police from the premises and threatened with arrest if she attempts to return.

The point at issue is, to say the least, a little moot. Professor Rosenthal, after ordering a multi-grain bagel, was asked by the person behind the counter, "Do you want butter or cheese?" News reports quote the prof as then declining to answer: "I refused to say 'without butter or cheese'. When you go to Burger King, you don't have to list the six things you don't want. Linguistically, it's stupid, and I'm a stickler for correct English." At this point, civil exchange clearly broke down.

8 comments:

Generic said...

There are people on the bus who make less sense than this woman, but not many.

Tulkinghorn said...

Why not ask "Do you want a chicken fried steak or an ice cream cone?"

The number of things in the world one does not order when one orders a multi-grain bagel are uncountable....

She speaks truth to power and gets crushed.

Generic said...

(makes sound of cuckoo clock)

If something is a standard condiment (mustard on a hot dog, sugar in coffee) in makes sense to ask. At Starbucks , these are standard combinations and she's being a pedantic crank. Probably off her meds.

Tulkinghorn said...

Would you like a first edition Ulysses with that or a hat rack?

Generic said...

You're in Toronto. Guy asks if you'd like vinegar on your fries. And you respond...

Generic said...

The point being, context is all. At Starbucks, this is a standard question. Leads me to believe this lady rarely goes there. Perhaps because she automatically disdains anything that large numbers of her fellow citizens embrace. And plus, people who pop off at the minimum wage drones manning the CR at a retail establishment have some gall calling anybody else a fascist.

Tulkinghorn said...

Only somewhat off point, from this morning's NY Times business section by a columnist calling himself the Haggler:

It’s hard to buy anything now without someone trying to sell you stuff you didn’t ask for and probably don’t want. Discount cards (at drugstores), personal training sessions (at gyms), pricey appetizers (at restaurants) — it never ends. Upselling has even come to the post office, where a clerk recently asked the Haggler, “Would you like fries with your order?”

Not really. It was “Do you need any postal supplies or a P.O. box?” That question, like all other upsells, makes the Haggler feel as if he’s being frisked for nickels.

Generic said...

Soreheads who run out of things to get sore about and start inventing new grievances. Would you like a slap with that?