Of course I had some help from a columnist in our newspaper who writes about words, grammar, and usage and by checking an old handbook I found stashed on my shelf. The Plain English HAND BOOK by Walsh was revised and published in 1959. It states previous issues were in 1951, 1946, and 1939. That’s WW II times! The handbook went on to become a reliable reference throughout the sixties, seventies, and eighties, and now, here for me in 2023. Amazing!
I found it interesting that the opening line of the Preface reads as follows: “This is the complete handbook containing all rules, definitions, and illustrations necessary to the mastery of functional grammar and usage.” Those editors would never recognize words we use today. I remember when words such as ‘cyber,” “modem,” and “nerd” were new. The dictionary recently added more than 300 words found in our daily usage, pop-culture, and politics. SCRABBLE players can vouch for many of them. Consider a few added in 2023: “rage farming,” “nearlywed,” “hellscape,” and “liminal space.”
When I was in the 9th grade, I certainly didn’t know the difference between bad or badly, but I did know when something was “good.” Children were taught to be “good.” Bad was something nobody wanted to be. When I look at the world today I ask, is our world and culture good or bad? Is it unraveling? If so, what WAS it previously? I’m sure it was bad back then and even before then. Evil has existed since the beginning of time, otherwise, why would there be a need for a Redeemer? But that’s another subject. Evil is rampant, yes, as witnessed by headlines in newspapers about murders, pedophiles, and such. But that also is another subject.
“Blood leads” is a term for journalists. It makes headlines. Think of the line at the grocery store and the magazines that feature scandals, mayhem, and blood. Today it may be the Murdaugh trial, some celebrity, or tragedy, but tomorrow there will be other deeds to cover. In spite of all that happens, there is much good in this world, more than we can fathom. People are basically good-hearted, sympathetic, helpful, and generous. The definition of good is “having positive or desirable qualities” such as beneficial, helpful, excellent. There is good news and bad news. I guarantee, if you look for what is good, you will find and experience it. Really good books dwell on good, bad, and evil themes and characters. They often become classics. And what makes a classic a classic? That also is another subject.