This morning's google news served up a nice crash blossom, courtesy of the Times Daily: "Racist language bill passes" When I first saw the headline, I thought it was an editorial inveighing against some bill about language that happened to be racist, rather than a bill about racist language, which, on reading the article, I find to be the intended interpretation.
Your high school English teacher always warned you about those ambiguous pronouns, but many of the examples she gave you probably weren't really ambiguous in a practical context. Here's one that is demonstrably ambiguous, but not, I think, for the reasons usually offered in high school textbooks. Language Hat grouses about an explanation offered by Dear Abby about the distinction between "burn down" and "burn up."
DEAR ABBY: Does a house "burn up" or "burn down"?
Bill Poser argues that the Supreme Court fails semantics in its decision of Morse et al. v. Frederick. He has two main complaints with the Court's analysis.
The first is that it is unwilling to accept the possibility that the utterance is meaningless.... The other error in the Court's analysis is in mistaking one kind of meaning for another.
Today, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case, which involves a teenager who was suspended after unfurling a banner reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" at a school-sanctioned event.