the personal is political

Ha ha, they are a like a boring old gay couple that never has sex with each other anymoreSERIOUS JOURNALISM FUNDED BY THE BRITISH TAXPAYER: David Cameron has made a coalition offer to the Liberal Democrats, a major event in this gripping election story, so naturally the BBC has on its front page right now this shockingly flippant picture of David Cameron and Nick Clegg in bed together in old man pajamas. CAN YOU BELIEVE THE CHEEKY BEEB WEB DRONES? Who’s in bed with whom, please, it’s like you people didn’t even invent the language. [BBC, except by the time you click this they will have probably put up something classier, out of shame]

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About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

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49 comments


  1. Post author
    Josh Fruhlinger

    And yes, before everyone complains, I know the BBC is funded by a “license fee” on TVs, not a tax per se, why don’t you go run off to David Patterson with your “taxes and fees are not the same thing” talk, communists.

  2. Joshua Norton

    The Beeb has none of the USA midwest white trash prudery about dudes doin’ it. Captain Jack on “Torchwood” was always putting a lip lock on Ianto.

  3. WhatTheHeck

    You know, she said she was a charming, beautiful ‘woman’ when I picked her up in a bar. Then after the election all hell broke loose and now I’m stuck with ‘her.’

  4. slithytoves

    I have totally lost respect for BBC for not using the object pronoun. Here’s a little trick editors, ask and answer the question: who is he sleeping with? Him=Whom.

  5. jagorev

    Actually, it’s completely acceptable to write “who’s in bed with who”.

    The rule about only using “whom” in the object of a sentence is a grammarian prejudice, not supported by literary usage.

  6. ManchuCandidate

    Snark has always been in the Brit blood. It’s as British as Spotted Dick.

  7. charlesdegoal

    The page still up, bad grammar and all. Clegg’s Jack Lemon is excellent but Cameron doesn’t even try to do Tony Curtis.

  8. JMP

    I foresee tension in this couple’s future; especially Cameron told Clegg, quoting Britain’s greatest band ever, if Clegg’d wannabe his lover, he’d have to get with Cam’s friends (those BNP and UKIP douches), ’cause that friendship lasts forever, friendship never ends.

  9. wheelie

    [re=572409]jagorev[/re]: You reveal your shameless lower class New Labour – Lib Dem grammatical sympathies. A true Tory would petrol-bomb the BBC for such a ghastly error. Or have a maid do it.

  10. jagorev

    From Merriam Webster, bitches:

    whom: used as an interrogative or relative ; used as object of a verb or a preceding preposition (to know for whom the bell tolls — John Donne) or less frequently as the object of a following preposition (the man whom you wrote to) though now often considered stilted especially as an interrogative and especially in oral use ; occasionally used as predicate nominative with a copulative verb or as subject of a verb especially in the vicinity of a preposition or a verb of which it might mistakenly be considered the object (whom say ye that I am — Matthew 16:15 (Authorized Version)) (people…whom you never thought would sympathize — Shea Murphy)

    who: used as a function word to introduce a relative clause ; used especially in reference to persons (my father, who was a lawyer) but also in reference to groups (a generation who had known nothing but war — R. B. West) or to animals (dogs who…fawn all over tramps — Nigel Balchin) or to inanimate objects especially with the implication that the reference is really to a person (earlier sources who maintain a Davidic ancestry — F. M. Cross) ; used by speakers on all educational levels and by many reputable writers, though disapproved by some grammarians, as the object of a verb or a following preposition (a character who we are meant to pity — Times Literary Supplement)

    The BBC’s headline is an interrogative and clearly involves some kind of oral. Using “who” is appropriate, and “Who is in bed with whom?” would sound pretentious and awful.

  11. wheelie

    [re=572423]jagorev[/re]: Pretension and awfulness are the hallmarks of Conservative Party values. Begone, commoner!

  12. the problem child

    [re=572423]jagorev[/re]: “Who is in bed with whom?” would sound pretentious and awful.

    And consequently, British. I rest my case.

  13. Maddow Loves Cox

    Your knowledge of British pop culture is so feeble it makes me laugh. Ha
    ha.

    This a doctored photograph of popular British comedians Morecambe and Wise.
    They, like Laurel and Hardy, were frequently seen in bed together, perfectly
    innocently. They would make some humorous remarks, only occasionally sucking
    each others penises and doing bumsex.

    So don’t try to make this into something it isn’t. It’s a perfectly innocent
    spoof.

  14. proudgrampa

    [re=572423]jagorev[/re]: IMHO, the only reason “whom” might seem stilted these days is that we’ve gotten lax (and sloppy) in our use of language. I recognize that language evolves, just like anything else. We should make the effort, I think, to follow rules of grammar.

    Just sayin’.

  15. Sparky McGruff

    You can learn a lot from that picture. David Cameron has a big head, and tiny hands. Kind of like a Tyrannosaurus.

  16. FlownOver

    [re=572405]wheelie[/re]: It’s a moment of realization:

    “The blancmanges mean to win Wimbledon!”

  17. jagorev

    [re=572441]proudgrampa[/re]: We should make an effort to follow real rules of grammar. We should not make an effort to follow the irrational prejudices of dead grammarians that have no basis in actual educated usage of the language.

  18. FlownOver

    [re=572495]jagorev[/re]: This is an outrage up with which we must not put!

    I.e, f**k y’all.

  19. Extemporanus

    So, David took Kirk’s name when they got gay married? Well now, that was jolly good of the old boy!

    Too bad one of them will soon be leaving the other’s behind — it’s just a matter “whom”, not “when”.

  20. Jim89048

    In this modern era, twitterati are ever cognizant of the economy of brevity. Those m’s (and b’s) can put you up against the 140 character limit pretty damn fast.

  21. maxwells silver hammer

    Cameron looks like a guy holding a popsicle-stick mask in front of his face.

  22. DangerousLiberal

    [re=572412]jagorev[/re]: Time for Fowler and fappery, just the way the Brits like it, ya prescriptivist/revisionist gits.

  23. Zadig

    [re=572495]jagorev[/re]: Hear fucking hear. Language is for communication, not for slavishly bending over backwards to adhere to ancient grammatical commandments. If 99% of the population is ending their sentences with prepositions, and the remainder is going around telling them that they’re not supposed to do that, that 1% is wrong and can go find a good fire to die in.

  24. DangerousLiberal

    [re=572423]jagorev[/re]: Also, “copulative verb” seems really appropriate in this story’s case, since someone (the British people, grammar, Strunk and White, etc.) are getting screwed.

  25. Deacon Frank Orris

    [re=572551]Zadig[/re]: OK, but nobody writes the same way that they speak. It may be pretentious to use “whom” in spoken English, or to make a big deal about not ending sentences with prepositions. That doesn’t necessarily mean that written English should be excused from following those rules. Grammar rules exist to (try to) make attempts at communication clearer and less ambiguous. To the extent that using “whom” clarifies or removes ambiguity from a statement, its use isn’t an “ancient grammatical commandment.” It’s just a good idea.

    Also, poop, too.

  26. Maddow Loves Cox

    [re=572482]Lazy Media[/re]:

    Yes, but with the added subtext that they might be homosexualists.

  27. jagorev

    [re=572592]Deacon Frank Orris[/re]: The “rule” about not ending a sentence with a preposition is completely retarded and thoroughly obsolete. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about spoken or written English, it is just stupid. There is nothing grammatically wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition, or with splitting an infinitive.

  28. jagorev

    [re=572592]Deacon Frank Orris[/re]: Using “whom” in the headline quoted above would not clarify or remove ambiguity, it would just make you sound like a git.

  29. Nigel

    [re=572610]jagorev[/re]:
    You’re correct about prepositions:

    Take it from Merriam-Webster’s Concise Dictionary of English Usage, page 763:
    “Recent commentators — at least since Fowler 1926 — are unanimous in their rejection of the notion that ending a sentence with a preposition is an error or an offense against propriety.”

    See futher discussion from UPenn linguistics professor:
    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004454.html

    ———–
    But I disagree about who/whom. If the headline were “Cameron’s in bed with he,” everyone would agree that would be incorrect use of a subject preposition. Who/whom is exactly the same as he/him*. So what’s the problem with using “whom?”

    *except that fewer people get it right.

  30. slithytoves

    [re=572650]Nigel[/re]: Yeah, plus, the who-who doesn’t sound right or look right to me. Blame it on the nuns.

  31. maxwells silver hammer

    Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I shall not put.

  32. bitchincamaro

    [re=572495]jagorev[/re]: Your pithy comments have been missing lately, yet I see now that it takes only a grammatical faux pas to pull your snarky ass out of retirement at teh W. What the hey, weepy eagle?

  33. Herman the German

    I have thought such stupid grammatical subtleties as the difference between “who” and “whom” only exist in German.
    You should simplify your language or sooner or later it will be replaced by Esperanto.

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