Scintilla Day 10: Pet peeves. We’ve all got ’em. What are yours? Write about a time when you experienced one so vividly that we all join your army of defiance.
I’ll just say to start off that the whole “army of defiance” thing may be a bit much. Plus, there have been no particular incidents of my pet peeves that were worse than the others. It is an accumulative effect over a lifetime.
And I certainly have more than three of them. But here are the three most frustrating, as well as most common. All three contain are some combination of laziness and inaccuracy. In other words, my pet peeves are things that wouldn’t have to happen, with just a little more thought on the part of the perpetrators.
1) Improper use of AD.
AD is short for Anno Domini. Latin. The best translation being “In the year of our Lord.” In this case, reference to Jesus of Nazereth, so the term originated from a Christian perspective, and many people now prefer the more secular designation for time, CE (for “common era”.) Yet AD is still utilized frequently to indicate a year in which something happened, the birth of Jesus of Nazereth being the focal point. Hence, “in the year of our Lord, 724.” Or, “AD 724”.
I see AD utilized this way, (aka the correct way) only about a third of the time. Instead we usually see, “724 AD.” Which would mean, “724 in the year of our Lord“. That sounds nonsensical and illiterate. Probably because that’s exactly what it is.
This is made worse by the fact that institutions that should know better do so. Like the damn History Channel! Yes, even before it became a reality show cesspool and was instead actually focused on history, this network’s original programming would routinely include the improper use of the AD designation, and it always made me ill.
If you don’t want to use it for religious reasons, fine. But if those reasons don’t bother you, and you prefer AD over CE, get it right, please.
2) The “Queen of England”
There is no Queen of England. There has in fact been no monarch of England since April of 1707, when the Acts of Union combined both the Parliaments and the Monarchies of England and Scotland. At that point, the United Kingdom was formed. Today the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the full title of that country. And Queen Elizabeth II is therefore the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
While simply calling her Queen of the United Kingdom is still correct, calling her the Queen of England is not.
England is a constituent nation of this United Kingdom. Though much of what we think of when we think of the United Kingdom is in fact within the boundaries of England, (Windsor Castle, the Tower of London, Stonehenge), the Monarchy itself is not limited to England.
Several things fry me about this common incorrectness. To begin with, as with my first pet peeve, legitimate authorities who ought to know better are guilty of perpetuating this inaccuracy. Respected journalists. Government officials. It isn’t that difficult to say “United Kingdom”, so why do they insist upon not doing so? Even if it were difficult to say, it would be correct, and “England” would not be.
Secondly, and perhaps worse; what I mention here has been true for more than three hundred years! Nobody alive, and indeed the grandparents of nobody alive existed the last time England had its own crown. So why this is even an issue is beyond me.
I understand there are many cultural frictions in the United Kingdom in regards to constituent nations and parliamentary autonomy and all of that. That is their affair, of course. But until such time as they change it, Elizabeth II is the Queen of the United Kingdom.
3) General Consensus.
Redundancy is a general pet peeve of mine anyway. But there is something about this one that is even more irksome.
Webster’s defines consensus as, “a general agreement”. Which means the term “general consensus” is referring to a “general, general consensus.” Or, to put it another way, it is ridiculous.
Incorrect (Though very common): The general consensus seems to be that he ought to be fired.
Correct (But seen less and less): The consensus seems to be that he ought to be fired.
Again, the definition of the word is not mysterious. So I am baffled as to why this is any more acceptable than say, “a soaking wetness”.
Like I said, I have many other pet peeves that I have discussed before. But the general consensus here in March of 2012 AD is that the worst are those that involve reference to the Queen of England.