What Were They Thinking?



Categories : Cartoons, David Cohen, Local


  1. Jim says:

    “What were they thinking?”
    is precisely what I keep wondering.

  2. D.Dial says:

    They weren’t thinking… all. That’s the big problem.

  3. Ben says:

    I assume this spelled expulsion for a UNCA senior….shameful waste for sure

  4. Britany says:

    Davyne, how do you know they weren’t thinking–something? You write about these people as if you know something about them we don’t. Can you explain your prejudice? First you said they were spoiled kids who deserved trumped up charges, now you seem to think it was mindless hijinks.
    What information do you have that we don’t to make these conclusions?

  5. Davyne Dial says:

    They’re were not thinking about consequences…and the fact that now-a-days there are cameras all over the place…and they’d be caught with-in a very short time. And their mug shots would be splattered all over….they weren’t thinking how this wanton act of foolishness would bring down pent up wrath we all feel on the pointy little heads. My “prejudice” as you call it, is a human reaction that any mature adult has toward stupid behavior. Most folks know stupid when we see it, even if the perps don’t. Common decency is missing in the minds of these spoiled brats. Throw the book at them, and their co-conspirators who haven’t been named yet.

    That enough for ya???????

  6. Britany says:

    Yes. My suspicion is confirmed.

  7. That Guy says:

    These kids remind me of nothing more than the scene in Talladega Nights with the red-headed kid running around screaming “Anarchy! Anarchy! I don’t know what that means, but I love it!” Truly a shameful waste of resources all the way around. I wonder how many dollars are being spent on electricity and internet connectivity to argue this issue.

  8. Davyne Dial says:

    May 6th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Yes. My suspicion is confirmed.”

    Good, that makes my day.

  9. dave says:

    “Yes. My suspicion is confirmed.”

    Are you trying to be vague, or are you just incapable of intelligence??

  10. Gordon Smith says:

    Y’all make some substantive points, or head over to the AC-T Forums.

  11. Jason Bugg says:

    You really should quit using “y’all”, even ironically it just makes you sound like a douche.

    Also watch the comma splice.

  12. Okay, THERE’S a substantive point.

  13. i.e. your usage doth ring false, Gordon.

  14. Jason, I do not mind Gordon trying to splice up his writing.

    But, yes, drop the comma — it’s not necessary.

    I will give the Democrats this: Y’ALL make more subtle typos than Republicans.

    It makes me want to throw Gordon and Chad into the CHICAGO BOOK OF STYLE and see who falls out the other side clutching their dangling participle.

  15. On the other hand, as Oscar Wilde once said:

    “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.”

    What I want to hear is Gordon and Cecil’s stance on usage of semicolons. Semicolons have rightly been called “the most feared punctuation on earth.”

    I would feel better knowing our elected officials understand when or when not to use a semicolon.

    Here is an example of a semicolon properly deployed:

    Jason Bugg orders pizza; Jason loves anchovies.

  16. Finally, here’s an example of several current local GOP activists using a semicolon:

    Y;all come.

    English has rules; Jason Bugg loves anchovies; Gordon splices commas.

    Ralph’s warmed up; Ralph begins his writing day.

  17. I think yall oughta been English teachers instead of spelling or grammar nazis, or stayed in Yankee Land to begin with. And if none of yuns are from Yankee Territory, you all definitely have that Yankee Attitude down to the point where I can’t tell the difference.

    Besides, there ain’t no apostrophe in yall.

    Pointing out spelling or grammar mistakes is an age-old way of making an attack against the person rather than the argument. It is intellectually lazy, and a way to bully people in order to chill future speech. It is also bigoted and intolerant of of southern culture.

  18. shadmarsh says:

    So…you complain about Yankees insulting “southern culture” by insulting Yankees.

  19. I’m far from a Yankee, Bobby. 😉 I particularly disagree that spelling and grammar is not part of Southern culture, it is and always has been. Yes — in rural areas like you and I grew up in — we tend to use dialect (and I still can), and in Northern rural areas, it’s the same — but for general communication it behooves us express ourselves in a more widely understandable manner. IF we want to be understood, that is.

    I DO — especially after over 30 years as a publisher and writer — promote proper English usage. I had to learn it to make a living so why the heck should y’all (and there is a danged apostrophe in it! 😉

    Good language is a communications tool. Like any tool, you’ll cut your fingers off if you get sloppy with it.

    Besides, Yankees are far from being proponents of good English … just listen to ’em, dagnabit.

  20. that’s “SHOULDN’T y’all” above.

    But seriously, I DO agree with Bobby strongly about making fun of someone because they mangle English. That’s wrong.

    Make fun of them because they have stupid ideas (ONLY if you can then add proof their idea really is stupid).

    The problem is, if you express a great truism in a stupid manner, then people think you are stupid and fail to consider your message.

    To paraphrase Voltaire’s famous quote, “”I disagree strongly with how you say it, but I will defend to the death your right to say it if I can only understand WTF it is you’re TRYING to say.”

    PROOF IT, baby, before you hit SEND.

  21. then you won’t leave double quotes

  22. Big Ivy says:


    I, like Ralph, am unaware that poor grammar is part of Southern regional culture. In fact, I thought a tendency to elegance of expression was more typically Southern. My South Carolinian, Georgian, and Texan teachers of English and history would be shocked to learn that poor grammar and sentence composition is accepted in the South.

    It’s o.k. Ralph can poke fun at me as I make plenty of errors in both grammar and construction. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by my oversight and sometimes I just chalk it up lack of focus. Either way, I generally know better and am able to laugh when I’m caught out.

    You all (y’all) and you ones (you’uns) are pretty courteous and that’s one of the major reasons I continue to visit this site (and to laugh at Shadmarsh’s crazy jokes).

  23. Gordon Smith says:

    How wonderful to see this thread turn from venom to vernacular.

    As to semicolons, commas, and the proper spelling of the second person plural, I’ll leave those to y’all.

  24. Davyne Dial says:

    @ Mr. Big Ivy….I too am partial to southern speech and expression. After all most of our great American authors were Southern. Aurhors such as Faulkner, Williams, Walty, Wolfe, Lee, Hurston…..and many others. often wrote in less than “proper” English, instead using expression of local colloquialisms or holdovers from their European ancestors…..thereby making their stories all the more interesting and colorful. And through their artistic use of language securing their place in artistic history.

    Grammar nazis are only using this to avoid proffering a substantive argument…they don’t have one, so the resort to condescending minutiae.

  25. shadmarsh says:

    Funny, I have always considered using (or at least attempting to) “proper” grammar and conventional spelling to akin to being polite, to taking the time to consider your audience. Yes, everyone makes mistakes and typos and most people generally ignore those.
    Oh, and since we are throwing authors around to back up our silly arguments let me mention a few “Yankees” who helped to revolutionize the American vernacular: Whitman, Melville, Stevens, Hemingway, W C Williams…

  26. Big Ivy says:

    To Shadmarsh….

    Oh, yeah? Well, we all know you are a strange an unusual specimen. So there!

    I remember the first time I read “Leaves of Grass!” (Don’t know how to underline on this site). I also remember the first time I read “Moby Dick” and just flat didn’t like it. I didn’t like it the second time I read it. But I liked it when I read it for the third time when I was around 35 years old.

    However, generally speaking, it is the Southern writers who grab my heart and imagination and turn me in all directions. They are usually awfully good at that.

    I thought Ralph was just having a moment of FUN and as such laughingly offered myself as the object of his proof-reading compulsions. If Ralph wasn’t indulging a moment of teasing fun, then shame on him. 🙂

  27. I am always both seriously having fun and being serious in a funny way.

    But that’s just me.

  28. So much for reading comprehension or following links, yall.

    The part about Yankee attitude was directed at you, Ralph. You’re a nice guy, except when it comes to lording the Queen’s English over people who never intend to speak it anywhere except under special circumstances. We already have a dialect that serves us just fine.

    If yall don’t like that…keep the South beautiful; get on a bus headed north. 😉

  29. Bobby, I speak dialect more than not because many of my friends, including you, are from hereabouts (although I literally and literately have friends all over the world). And colloquial is good, I loves colloquial,

    Not trying to lord it over anyone. I grew up barefoot in the tobacco patch like a lot of other good folk around here. We didn’t have electricity until I was five years old. I remember using the outdoor johnny on cold frosty mornings (that will build character in you). In short, I’m dang well more mountain than most of you on this board, proud of it, stronger because of it.

    My point is that many of the Carolina Stompers and others in the local GOP hurt the cause by failing to communicate in basic English. Which is a shame because it’s no secret that I agree much closer to the conservative belief than to whatever it is Gordon and Cecil see through their rose-colored shades that distort reality into a blurry pink haze (or so I must assume from their public pronouncements). But at least I understand their message whereas the Stompers meander around a bit and spew typos like crumbs from the man who uncontrollably sneezes with a mouthful of good ol’ mountain buttermilk biscuit.

    You gotta learn to communicate.

    The world has changed dramatically. Many of the people who have moved into the Asheville area do not comprehend our “mountainisms” (I am a professional and have a license to create words, don’t try it at home). Although I hasten to point out that the lack of standard language employed by, again, some of the local GOPers, is just plain sloppy. stomperisms are not mountainisms.

    The world has shrunk dramatically in the past thirty years that I’ve been writing. Good English gives good communication and this is even more critical in today’s world-in-your-backyard environment. For example, I am currently under contract with Packt Books in the United Kingdom to write the CELTX BEGINNER’S GUIDE (Celtx is open source screenwriting software). I am dealing with people in England, my editors are all Indian in Mumbai, and the Celtx people are in Canada. The most easily understood of the lot (including myself) are the Indians, like Dillip my development editor. They do not take shortcuts, a sentence is a sentence and imparts clear meaning.

    That’s all I’m asking for.

  30. Britany says:

    A slight change of subject.

    (AP) Fidel Cas­tro says the spread­ing oil slick foul­ing the Gulf of Mex­ico is proof that the world’s most pow­er­ful gov­ern­ments can­not con­trol large cor­po­ra­tions that now dic­tate the public’s destiny.

    Only Castro has the courage to say it?

  31. Brittany, it’s an industrial accident. Crap happens.

  32. Britany… sorry for the extra ‘t.’

  33. Britany says:

    My understanding is that technology exists, mandated by Brazil for instance, that would have provided a means to quickly turn off the valves that are not installed in the BP rig. Too expensive argued US oil companies (lobbied), and so US off shore drilling does not require them. If the oil companies can write their own game plan and omit measures & equipment to prevent accidents like this one it is disingenuous to call this spill and accident.

  34. Tom Buckner says:

    Language is a complicated, living thing, and regional dialects are no exception.. see for example the etymology of vittles. What’s correct is whatever most people use, as a practical matter, and more’s the pity sometimes. Don’t get me started about then/than.

    Castro’s right. (Bhopal was just an industrial accident too, and I dare anyone to go there and say so.)
    As for the device Britany mentions, it’s an acoustic trigger which the oil companies didn’t want to use because it costs $500k, but in this case it might have saved a $560 million rig, which is to say it would cost less than 1/1000th of the total.

    This is comparable to installing $200 worth of fire detectors and extinguishers in your home, which isn’t far from what you most likely have.

  35. Davyne Dial says:

    Shad. “Funny, I have always considered using (or at least attempting to) “proper” grammar and conventional spelling to akin to being polite, to taking the time to consider your audience. Yes, everyone makes mistakes and typos and most people generally ignore those.”

    True….some forums are much more formal than others, and those more formal do require a closer look before hitting the send button. However a local yocal forum on various political subjects is not the NY Times forum. I know for a fact some very brilliant mathmatical/ technical people who can’t spell or write worth one whit, but their thoughts are still valuable, even if miss -pelled and a sentence wrongly formatted. I can USUALLY figure out the gist. I did well in college in writing and literature, but was seriously lacking in the higher math dept. It appears to me that one gets either the math gene or the writing gene, but most of us don’t get both. I don’t take it as disrespectful if someone is using improper sentence formation or improper uses of punctuation and feel compelled to get out my red pen….that I’ll leave for the grammer nazis. They’re always lurking. I think it makes them feel superior…for at least a few minutes. lol

  36. Tom Buckner says:

    By the way, the wiki on Southern American English is interesting… it links to the Southern Glossary that incorrectly drops the apostrophe from y’all. I can think of at least one term that it doesn’t list. When I was a youngster, we called a faucet a “spicket.”

  37. Davyne Dial says:

    One only needs an OED to learn how words, grammar & vernacular changes through the times.
    OED= Oxford English Dictionary

  38. Doug Gibson says:


    The wikipedia “regional vocabularies” entry includes spigot in its first entry as a synonym or regionalism of faucet.

    I think it may not have made it into the Southern Glossary because it’s a dictionary-recognized usage.

  39. Deus Ex Machina says:

    I use Celtx. It’s a good program.

  40. Big Ivy says:

    RE: Spigot and Victuals

    I am not going to the trouble of looking it up but I believe “spigot” is a standard word and, like Tom, I always heard the older folks call it a “spicket or spickit.” (A close enough pronunciation, in my opinion.)

    I learned in the 10th grade that the word “victuals” is correctly pronounced “vittles” except by the uninformed pretender. I am quite sure that the British Navy Victualer was pronounced “vittler.”

    I now promise to post nothing more today about English usage, punctuation, or regional dialect.

  41. Deus Ex Machina says:

    To this day my favorite regionalism is “going to the house” instead of “going home”. This variation only occurs in WNC, and I’m proud to have folded it into my vocabulary, without irony.

  42. Davyne Dial says:

    Old English is around amongst the old folks. My Grandmother (who died last year @ close to 101 years) called ears, “ayers”, odd people were “quare,” and “I hope my die” was used to express awe at something outlandish. She had a bunch of other hold evers from the past, it’s sad to see them go.

  43. Big Ivy says:


    I’m always pleased to run across someone who has first hand knowledge of older usages and pronunciations! I am acquainted with the older use and pronunciation of “quare.”

    The almost middle English pronunciations held on in the mountains until recent generations. Such as “Arr” for arrow, “narr” for narrow, and so on. (Relates very well to ongoing British pronunciation in that we pronounce “derby” and “clerk” as spelled but the English continue the older pronunciation of “darby” and “clark.”

    In fact, when researching family histories one must be careful as that family name of “Marr” might be Marr OR it might have been “Morrow.”

    I love this stuff as long as it is grounded in real experience and not movies. 🙂

  44. Kristin says:

    Technically, Davyne, “Old English” looks nothing like modern English and would be mostly unreadable/unpronounceable to us. Think Beowulf (untranslated).

  45. David Cohen says:

    I love that this cartoon led to this discussion—I am constantly stressing to my daughters and to the kids that have taken cartoon classes from me the importance of correct spelling and proper grammar. I admit that I have an instinctual reaction about someone’s intelligence when they have misspelled a word or forgotten a salient punctuation mark, that I have worked hard at letting go of. Many times the person who I was judging was more than intelligent and a possessor of something that belies its name, common sense.
    I still believe in the importance of spelling and punctuation, but they are only a part of the equation.

  46. Davyne Dial says:

    @ BigIvy
    I appreciate colloquialisms & how people use different words, phrases and grammar to express themselves…sometimes very colorfully. If I judge then as not worthy of my time or attention, just because they don’t follow proper English or grammar, I’d miss out on a lot.

    For example “over my Cold. Dead. Body” is not a properly formed sentence, but it spoke volumes when Molly Ivans wrote it in an essay I read many years ago…and I remember it to this day.

    @ Kristen:
    “4. From 1718-1775 English speakers left North Britain and Northern Ireland and settled in the Appalachian backcountry. These people are called the “Scots-Irish.” These were mostly Anglo-Saxons refugees of the Norman Conquest who had settled within the Celtic fringe of Britain. The true Scottish and Irish people were Celts who spoke Scots-Gaelic or its close relative Irish-Gaelic and most did not adopt English until the 18th or 19th century. The immigration of true Irish and Scottish peoples, beginning in the mid-1800’s, had little permanent effect on American dialect formation.

    One island of early Scotch-Irish English speech was left behind and preserved during the push west. This special, archaic variety of English is known as Appalachian English. It preserves many archaic features that date back to earlier stages in the development of English in Britain. Forms thought to be substandard today are actually the outmoded standard of yesterday. A good example is the use of double negatives such as ‘not nobody.’ Linguists have dubbed this variety of English as “American Old English” or “American Anglo Saxon”. Other mountainous, relatively isolated areas of the American East show a similar preservation of archaic speech. Mario Pei, a popular writer on linguistics, said that “The speech of the Ozarks comes closer to Elizabethan English in many ways than the speech of modern London.”

    Main features–

    –pronouns: hit (it), youns, (ye ones–Chaucer), (possessives) hisn, hern, yorn, theirn them used as an adjective in place of their; them boys.

    –Retention of preposition in the progressive aspect: I’m a talking to you.

    –propensity to use compound nouns: men-folk, man-child, kin folks

    –exchanging parts of speech in comparison to standard English: It pleasures me, That was mighty fetchin’ of you, She prettied herself up, I’ll muscle it up (lift it up), He bigged her (made her pregnant); He daddied that child.

    –Many colorful idioms. Slow as Christmas (slow in coming about), slick as a peeled onion (sly), His backbone’s rubbin’ his belly. (very hungry).

    –fixin to, pert near, afeared, beholden (indebted), took sick, upped an, mess of (lot of)

    –Rhyming euphemisms: swan, swanny = swear, land sakes alive, golly, dad blamed.

    –Special distance words: This here, that there, that yonder.

    –bag called sack; dragonfly called mosquito hawk, green bean called a snap bean; pail called a bucket.

    Some southern features from the poorer classes are shared with the dialects of the rural midwest since poor southerners helped colonize the midwest. Also, some features of Appalachian English are shared with the speech of poorer southern whites for the same reason.

    –ain’t, use of double negatives–older “correct” version of English, avoided by the upper classes, who chose the innovative single negatives preferred by the British upper classes.

    –ng = n: somethin, nothin, (also found in Scotch-Irish dialects of middle English: Celtic languages had no ng)

    The “Scots-Irish” dialect of southern English mingled with Cherokee and other Native American languages in a band running from western North Carolina to Oklahoma and East Texas, giving rise to the so-called backwoods, or highlands, southern dialect, which is more faster and high-pitched than tidewater southern and more nasal than Appalachian English. Some of the phonological features of the backwoods southern dialects undoubtedly come from Cherokee and other Native American languages. The south was the only area in the East where Native Americans mixed significantly with the whites. This occurred mostly with the poorer whites on the frontier. Substrate features include: nasality, tensing of vowels [e] instead of [E] rather than diphthongization as in Tidewater Southern English. “