Monday, March 21, 2011

Superlatives, Or Crminal language

I'm a big fan of the show "Criminal Minds" which shows, in reruns,on the A&E channel. A&E's ad for the show describes the show's heroes as being "on the hunt for the most twisted minds." That line bothers me: That the criminal involved is "the most twisted."

In the show, one of the characters--J.J.--is responsible for accepting/rejecting requests for the team. So, presumably, she would be the person making the decision on who's got the "most twisted mind". I have this vision of J.J. on the phone with someone requesting the team to come and help them :

J.J.: I understand...but, you know, I don't think your murderer counts as the most twisted mind.
J.J.: Yes, the pig is good. We don't get a lot of pigs. But, unfortunately, I've got another killer in Nebraska. They have a pig and a monkey. Do you have a monkey to go with your pig?
J.J.: No? Well, then, I guess we're going to Nebraska...
J.J.: Sorry, pardon?
J.J.: Negligee? Your pig is in dressed in woman's underwear?
J.J.: One second (changes lines on phone). Hello, Nebraska? Is either your pig or monkey wearing woman's underwear?
(other voice)
J.J.: That's too bad--so close! (hangs up, returns to first phone line) Congratulations, sir! You have the most twisted mind. We're rolling out the jet.

Now, I recognize that English is a rational/organic language rather than a logical language. I understand that a woman can feel she's "a little bit pregnant"; I get what Thomas Jefferson means when he says that he and his compatriots intent to form a "more perfect" union. But, it seems to me, that (unless you're Thomas Jefferson) you should honour the logic of good/better/best and some/more/most.

Reading or read

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