In light of today’s fresh content about grammar and word usage, here’s a related piece from my old blog, originally posted February 12, 2019.
I am currently reading actress Rose McGowan’s book, BRAVE. To be honest, I didn’t know who Rose McGowan was before I picked up her book. I never watched her on Charmed; I wasn’t a fan of the movie, Scream (and don’t even remember if I ever watched it); I don’t follow Marilyn Manson; and looking at McGowan’s page on imbd.com, I don’t even recognize anything she’s been in since 2011. I have heard of Law & Order, but have never watched the show. I probably should watch Law & Order, because I probably would like it, but not because Rose McGowan was ever in it.
I picked up her book because someone in the Life is Not All Pickles and Hairspray Facebook group mentioned that Rose McGowan had been in the Children of God cult. I recently wrote a couple of posts about that creepy sex cult that was big in the 1970s. Rose McGowan is about my age, and she was born in Tuscany. Why? Because her parents were in that cult. The Children of God sent members around the globe in an effort to recruit new people. McGowan’s parents must not have been as closed in to the compound as others in the Children of God cult were, as McGowan has actual memories of Italy instead of just the Children of God compound.
Fortunately for Rose McGowan, she wasn’t forced to stay in that cult until she was an adult, as some others have been. Her parents eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest, which McGowan hated after her time in Italy. I can’t blame her for that. Italy is a magical place and the food is insanely good there. I had to chuckle as McGowan described the first lasagna she ever encountered in the United States. My very first memories are of England, not the United States (although I was born in Virginia). I think it permanently affected my world view, just as Rose’s world view seems to have been affected by having been born and spent her earliest years in Italy.
So anyway, I don’t have too much longer to go before I’m finished with Rose’s book. I’m kind of glad I’ve been reading it, particularly since I also just read Justine Bateman’s book about fame. McGowan kind of echoes Bateman’s comments about how fame isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. There is a definite downside to it. Unfortunately, at this point, McGowan’s comments about her experiences in show business are not what is sticking out the most to me about her book.
A few chapters ago, McGowan wrote about having visited the dentist, who was pressuring her to get her teeth the “Cadillac” treatment. You know, a lot of people in Hollywood have perfect teeth that are straight and brilliantly white. And this is part and parcel of being in show business, since people are always looking at your teeth when you’re in a movie or on television, or even if you’re photographed for a magazine or album cover. McGowan’s point was that this dentist was trying to pressure her into spending big bucks to repair her perfectly serviceable, but not quite perfect, teeth. It’s toxic to women, particularly those in entertainment, that so many of us are pressured to look beautiful all the time.
But… as she was explaining this very good point about how women in show business are objectified and pressured into staying as young and gorgeous as they can for as long as possible, McGowan wrote something along the lines of, “There I was, lying prone at the dentist’s office…”
I had to stop and scratch my head at that. In 46 years of life on this planet, I have never once been asked to lie prone at the dentist’s office. If I ever had been, I’d be concerned about the dentist’s competence. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what it looks like to be “prone“, if you are writing or speaking about lying flat and you want to be accurate.
I think the word McGowan was looking for was “supine”.
I will admit, I get hung up on these kinds of “trivial” things all the time. It probably annoys a lot of people, especially on Facebook. In fact, I remember recently getting into it with people in the Life is Not All Pickles and Hairspray Group about the proper way to spell HIPAA. People got snippy with me about it, claiming it’s not a big deal.
Maybe it’s not a big deal to you, but it is a big deal to me. Words have meaning. Spelling is important. Word knowledge and proper usage is important. If I ever get to a point at which something like this doesn’t make me twitchy, it may be time for me to see a physician. I know some people don’t care about this. It’s one of my quirks. I also hate it when people use the word “utilize” when they could just as easily and more accurately employ the word “use”. Or when they write or say “jettisoned” when they actually mean “rocketed”. The word “jettison” is not akin to the word “jet”. Look it up.
Incidentally, this morning I became aware of a new book that I’ve decided I must own. Although I doubt I’m quite the guru professional copywriter Benjamin Dreyer is, I think we may be spirit animals.
I hope to finish Ms. McGowan’s book today and perhaps I’ll review it later today or maybe tomorrow. There’s more to it than just an improper use of the word “prone”. If I know myself, though, I will probably think of her next time I get a cleaning. (Click the link at the beginning of this post for my review of McGowan’s book.)