Why am I writing this? I don't know. Maybe it's the eight half-gallon Cokes I downed a few hours ago to the tune of weak pop-ups courtesy Matt Cain, or maybe it's the profound feeling of minimality that washes over me when faced with the monstrosity that is the internet and the desire to make my voice heard above the fray. Or maybe it's because I've been listening to Minor Threat for the past hour or so and feel the need to direct all that rage SOMEWHERE. Whatever; it's unimportant. What is important is after the jump.
An adjective, as most of you should all know, is a word that functions as the qualifier of a noun.
That is a hairy monkey. Hairy is the adjective that modifies the noun monkey.You knew that already.
There are two main types of adjectives (or so I learned in school): limiting and descriptive. Descriptive adjectives attribute qualities to nouns; there are two sub-types. Limiting adjectives limit the noun being describe; there are nine sub-types. The details aren't really relevant to our discussion here, but are worth knowing for just about everybody. You can read more on Wikipedia (trust me, I have).
What's my point? It's this:
Observe this statement:
The moronic argument of the hour goes something like this
This does not mean that those making the argument are moronic. It means the argument itself is moronic; moronic is the adjective that modifies the noun argument. The statement simply and straightforwardly labels the argument as moronic. Nothing more, nothing less. I understand that it is not too great a leap to form the connection that those making the moronic arguments are morons themselves. However, seeing as that is YOUR interpretation of the sentence and not what the sentence actually says, it would behoove those of you writing "Sure, go call all people that disagree with you morons, you pretentious prick" to stop that, since that is not what was actually said. Go ahead and say that you interpreted the statement as meaning such or, hell, say that you don't find the argument moronic at all, but don't incorrectly identify an inference as a statement, attribute that to somebody, and then attack them for saying it. That's called a red herring, it's a logical fallacy, and it's effing annoying.
Or go ahead and do it; it's a free country after all. You should know, though, that you will be not-so-nicely and perhaps even condescendingly - OH NOES - responded to, with a sentence or two or a paragraph that most likely reiterates what I've just said.
And, finally, I'm sorry if this post comes across as condescending; my day job is writing for The New Yorker - I can't help it.