We try to avoid politics here for a number of reasons, including that there’s plenty of more interesting stuff to muse and complain about. So make no mistake that although this post complains about New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, it’s not because of her politics, it’s because of her general incompetence and inanity as a writer (to be fair, she one of many columnists of all political stripes that I find terrible and who I generally avoid).
Now I don’t usually read Maureen Dowd’s column, because I’d rather do almost anything else, but I happened to be on a slow meandering New Jersey Transit train this weekend and I made a mistake. I don’t even remember what the column was about, but one sentence jumped out at me:
President Obama has deranged conservatives just as W. deranged liberals.
In my experience, that’s not how one uses the word “derange.” Anonymous guy is deranged, jco is deranged, that Wombacher dude is definitely deranged, but I don’t think I deranged any of them. Maybe I’m wrong. Merriam-Webster has “derange” as a verb, not an adjective, and one of its examples suggests Maureen Dowd may well be right in her usage:
being stranded at night on a lonely road would derange anyone
But I’ve still never seen it actually used that way, and I’m sticking by my guns. Maureen Dowd sucks and that’s not how you use the word derange (I do, however, commend the Times for actually having a blog, After Deadline, that addresses ridiculously arcane — as well as common — grammar issues).