Mark Liberman at Language Log has been at pains to point out how Bush, because of the stereotype that he is a mediocre intelligence and perhaps suffers some cognitive impairment from all those years of hard partying before he got sober, gets a bad rap for things that escape attention when they come out of the mouths of other people in public life.
That problem is hardly limited to journalists. English teachers frequently have the same problem. In this issue of Purdue OWL News [mistakenly dated 2007], an e-journal that answers writing questions, one of the OWL Tutors analyzes "is using" as a passive construction.
In the follow-up issue for the next week, the OWL news editor published a correction, but his explanation still leaves a lot to be desired.
The protests seem to be most severe when the written language uses an unfamiliar script. A sort of visceral panic seems to set in. But really, what difference does could it possibly have made what the shirt said? The people who complained, of course, are simply frighted fools, and I suppose they are unavoidable these days, given the political climate. But for security officials insist that this gentleman remove his shirt--that is simply outrageous. Are they just as stupid, or do they simply pandering to the paradoid whims of any xenophobic nutjob? Pray tell, how does changing a shirt mitigate any supposed security threat?