Lynne Rosenthal/ Stupid Bagel Woman/ Please shut down the Evening Standard

Sometimes you pick up a copy of the Evening Standard and regret it. In fact, often I regret it. It isn’t that the paper is written badly, lots of papers are, it is the angle which it imputes in each story.

With exception of some of the columnists, the gutter press always take the path of least resistance. In most cases this involves appeals to “common sense,” even when this involves backing idiots.

Idiots like Professor Lynne Rosenthal. After ordering a Bagel in a branch of Starbucks, she is asked if she wants butter or cheese with it. Rather than saying no just plain please, this woman takes option b) [1]

b) Throw a fit, saying that if you had wanted butter or cream cheese you would have asked for it, and that the fact that this obvious logic was not understood illustrates the bad grammar of the staff, tout the importance of correct language and, sticking relentlessly by your position, eventually call the staff person an “asshole” until you are thrown out?

What an “asshole!” [2] As The Economist points out, Ms Rosenthal is showing how little she understands language. There are many nuances in asking for a Bagel, and for every one person pedantically asking for one expecting no butter there is one person expecting butter without asking. Being asked to clarify takes no time compared to having to replace an incorrect item.

She subjects a poor service clerk to a barrage of abuse for asking the question which she or he has been trained, nay drilled, to ask. Anyone who has worked behind a counter will be familiar with the easy air of arrogance with which you can be treated. This Professor made a cruel stand against people who could not fight back, people who at best could continue to ask her perfectly reasonable questions.

In the end the police had to be called, three policeofficers ejected her from the premises, that is how unreasonable this woman is. Yet she is lauded because it is an easier story to write than that exploring the abuse those in the service industry endure.

How do the gutter press report on this? The make her a martyr of course! She was only standing up for common sense of course! The phone some rentaquotes called the Plain English Campaign to explain this particular subject “drives people mad” of course!

In short, the writers of the Evening Standard and all the gutter press act in a worse way than even Ms Rosenthal. She can only be an “asshole” to one small group of people at a time (perhaps a 20meter radius delineates the maximum), the Evening Standard pollutes the air it all the way to Newbury, that’s 60 miles away! This is why people don’t buy papers any more and look bored while they read free ones they find in the bin on trains.

Ms Rosenthal is an “asshole,” she went out of her way to ruin someone else’s day. All because she has a messiah complex in which only she can save the English Language. Given the above, the fact that this Professor is a hypocrite too should come as no surprise. Ms Rosenthal is offended by the “language fascism” of Starbucks. For someone who is “a stickler for correct English” I find it amusing that she considers comparing a coffee shop to the world’s greatest monsters appropriate.

Like I said, “asshole.”

UPDATE: Here is the link to the original article, which I did not originally include.


[1] I’m quoting from The Economist because it is excellent (apart from the flippant reference to Asperger’s which seems unnecessary.)

[2] She’s American, so the spelling is correct for her vernacular.