“It weirds me out.” As a grammatical “purist” (so pure that I even put “purist” in quotation marks), I of course deplore this verb “to weird [s.o.] out” and the slacker impersonal construction meaning, approximately, “I feel icky.” Yet somehow the words seemed appropriate to describe my reaction to the sight of some half a million men gathered on the national Mall in Washington on October 4 to hug and cry and hold hands. The deplorable fin de siècle spectacle elicits an equally deplorable fin de siècle locution. Which is only to say that I am not an apologist for the Promise Keepers, nor for religious enthusiasts in general, nor for those who play the late twentieth-century game of displaying emotion in public in order to establish their political bona fides in the eyes of some cretin of a TV reporter. But what a splendid illustration the Promise...

 
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