28 November 2003

It's Not Me
For those of us with a wicked sense of humor—and, if you're reading this, that almost certainly includes you—Associate Justice William Bedsworth's monthly column in the Orange County [CA] Bar Journal provides essential reading. It also restores faith in the potential value of footnotes:

   So I’ve got no sales in Texas’ high tech industry, law enforcement community, legal profession, or for that matter, anybody else south of [the] Red River. If Texas is typical, I’m in trouble.7

*  *  *

7  But, then again, if Texas is typical, we’re all in trouble.

(Posted 26 Nov 03) And if we remember all of the Texas politicians who have achieved inordinate influence over the last quarter of a century—George II and III; Dick Armey; Tom DeLay; Jim Wright; John Tower; and more others than I could shake a copy of the Constitution at—as typical, then we're in trouble similar to that on the RMS Titanic just after it struck the iceberg. For example, just look at the grammatical influence. "Texas" is not plural. Therefore, its possessive should be "Texas's", not "Texas'" (Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.), Rule 6.24 (explicit example)). But then, as the CMS also notes,

Traditional exceptions to the general rule for forming the possessive are the names Jesus and Moses:

in Jesus' name     Moses' leadership

Rule 6.26. The theological implications of this perhaps unintentional (but nonetheless amusing, to no discredit of the author!) indication of Texas's influence on the Electorate's English—even beyond its school textbook system—could well form the subject of some overblown graduate-student essay. With footnotes that will, no doubt, take away any faith in footnotes that Justice Bedsworth had restored.