LATELY — 30 November 2002

Three Things

Three things:

1. A state elec­tion was held today. The Bracks gov­ern­ment was re-elected with an in­creased majority, which is some­what sur­pris­ing given that their elec­tion ma­te­r­ial is ungrammatical. Voters in Rich­mond got a letter starting:

Re­mem­ber three years ago the opinion poll­sters pre­dicted Jeff Kennett and the Lib­er­als were going to win a third term in power. Instead, I’m writing to you today as the Labor Premier of Victoria.

(Writing as Premier of Vic­to­ria instead of what? What might have happened? Instead of Jeff Kennett and the Lib­er­als winning a third term in power? They’re not par­al­lel forms! The last sen­tence should start Instead, Labor won, and I’m writing to you …. The first sen­tence also needs a ques­tion mark—and it should prob­a­bly start with Remember how ….)

Voters in Prahran got:

I’m writing to you because Saturday’s elec­tion is a very im­por­tant choice for all Victorians. It’s about who you can rely on to deliver the ser­vices we all need.

(Saturday’s election is not a choice. One gets to make a choice, but that’s not the same thing. Whether or not to vote Labor would be a choice. Or, the verb could be changed so that the elec­tion represents a choice. There’s also some dodgi­ness sur­round­ing the an­tecedent of It. What’s about who I can rely on? The elec­tion might be about who can be relied upon but it’s not about who I can rely on.)

Well, maybe it’s because the Liberals’ ma­te­r­ial isn’t much better. Their Prahran letter starts:

Most people agree that some gov­ern­ments only start to be active when they’re under pres­sure to do so. That’s what we’ve been seeing in Vic­to­ria since the elec­tion was called—a flurry of election-related activity.

(What’s the an­tecedent of that? What have we been seeing? That most people agree? That gov­ern­ments only start to be active when they’re under pressure?)

2. Norman got married in a fine wedding. I’m not very in­ter­ested in most markers of adulthood—marriage, homes and babies, say—but I am in­ter­ested in weddings. In particular, I’d like to know if it’s at all pos­si­ble for a secular wedding to be as rich in sym­bol­ism and emotion as a re­li­gious wedding.

3. (My grand­mother and I were won­der­ing about this.) When a woman marries, she is (traditionally) known by her husband’s full name (Mrs C. Stillwell). If she is widowed, she keeps this name. However, if she is divorced, she gets her own given name back (Mrs M. Stillwell).