Numbskulls, Darwinism, and jeers

A sharp-eyed reader pointed out some problems in this paragraph in the Cheers and Jeers editorial of Wednesday’s Northfield News:

Jeers to the numbskulls who in the past week have went through the ice on various Minnesota waters. Tragically, a couple have even died from their poor decisions. However, in many cases, those who risk going onto ice too soon risk not only their lives, but the lives of emergency rescue personnel who are called out to rescue them from frozen water. Despite annual warnings from officials and media sources, many still believe they can defy gravity and take a several-hundred-pound ATV on a thin sheet of ice. It’s too bad: If a rescue scenario didn’t involve risking the lives of emergency personnel, we could just chalk up senseless acts such as this to Darwinism.

Can you spot ’em?


  1. That’s not “Darwinism,” but “evolution.” Sorta. I’m no biologist, but evolutionary theory emphasizes adaptive changes, not just being stupid. Humans’ big brains are supposed to help us avoid this kind of mistake.

    December 19, 2006
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks, Christopher.

    Maybe the editorial writers are referring to the Darwin Awards where honors are given to people who remove themselves from the gene pool via numbskullish behaviors.

    There’s another grammar item in the above piece that no one’s mentioned yet.

    Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

    December 19, 2006
  3. Susan Hvistendahl said:

    Obviously the error is “have went” for “have gone,” as TWO letters to the editor pointed out last week.
    Remember when the headline in Diversions referred to “boarder” instead of “border” (as in south of the border…)?

    Ay ay ay ay.

    December 20, 2006
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    That’s the obvious one, you’re right, Susan.

    But there’s one more!

    December 20, 2006
  5. Tracy Davis said:

    Well, how nitpicky are we going to get? I could point out that an ATV is taken ONTO the ice rather than on it, or make the case that the last phrase has a dependent clause with a misplaced modifier (I think – my grammar’s a bit fuzzy) and might better be written as “chalk senseless acts such as this up to Darwinism”.

    December 20, 2006

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