Archive | April, 2014

Skye’s the Limit

The remark I want to make contains a SPOILER for last night’s episode of Agents of SHIELD, so I’ve buried it in the comments section.

Them Pore Old Bosses Need All the Help They Can Get Remembering the Lyrics

Okay, I keep a vast menagerie of peeves as pets. Here’s one.

The name of the Roy Orbison song is not “Sweet Dreams, Baby.” It’s “Sweet Dream Baby.” (Or, strictly speaking, just “Dream Baby.”) He’s not wishing her sweet dreams; it’s not a lullaby. He’s saying that she’s his “sweet dream baby,” the subject of his sweet dreams. (Dreams whose fulfillment is not necessarily to be expected.) Listen, you can hear that he’s singing “sweet dream baby” and not “sweet dreams, baby,” even if the person who uploaded the song to YouTube labeled it “Sweet Dreams, Baby”:

Among the factors that have contributed to the confusion is a commercial from a few years back; I forget what the commercial was for, but it showed a kid eating a cookie (though it wasn’t an ad for cookies) while playing a version with “dreams” in the lyrics. Another is this iconic performance, where it can easily sound as though Orbison is singing “dreams”:

But if you listen carefully – and watch both Orbison’s lips and those of Bruce Springsteen, who’s accompanying him here – it becomes clear that Orbison is still singing “dream” and it’s Springsteen who’s adding the S. That’s right: while backing up Orbison at an Orbison tribute, the Boss is singing the wrong goddamn lyrics.

Update En Passant

So last week I was in Vegas for the APEE, where I got to meet C4SS comrade Nathan Goodman (here’s his contribution to our Spooner panel). Then zipped off to San Diego for the Pacific APA and a panel on Eric Roark’s new book.

It’s end-of-semester time here at Auburn so not much time for blogging. More later. If you like people being cut in half I have an upcoming project that may interest you.

An Observation Thingy

One advantage of learning traditionally correct grammar, vocabulary, usage, etc., even for those who do not regard them as normative, is that without such knowledge one will be unable to pick up on subtle distinctions in writers who do use them.

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