Monday, May 26, 2008

TORONTO STAR briefly confuses CHILDREN OF MEN with reality

In an editorial, New use for old schools, the Toronto Star makes this statement:

School boards across Ontario have been watching their enrolments fall for years as a result of rapidly declining fertility rates. That, in turn, has led to half-empty facilities and painful decisions about school closings.

Now, I know "fertility rate" can technically refer to birth rate, rather than, say, actual fertility rate (i.e. the extent to which a population could have children if it chose to maximize, as opposed to the amount it chooses to have--which is maddening, by the way, I hate it when terms don't mean what they plainly mean). Nonetheless, I find its use in place of "birthrate" to connote an Apocalyptic decline of the species, which I'm sure was unintended in an article about use of public property.

Apparently "fecundity" has replaced "fertility"? Or did "fertile" slip into "fecund" and is now slipping back? According to Merriam Webster, they can both mean both productive or potentially productive. Maybe I'm just irrationally prejudiced against "fecund" because, well let's face it, it's sort of an ugly word.

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