Flaming idiocy in the passive voice in Ridgefield, Connecticut

Somebody did something dumb in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Here’s the text of a post from the town’s official Facebook page:

There as been an incident in town that we want make citizens aware of. A RHS baseball game at Governor Park was delayed due to weather conditions on the field this morning. A poor decision was made (and being looked into by the RPD) to “dry the field quicker” and 24 gallons of gasoline was poured and set on fire. Thanks to the RFD, Peter Hill the Director of Public Works, DEEP, the RPD, and our Certified Spill Response Team for their incredible help. No one was injured and no one is in danger. The plan is to excavate the infield, place dirt in a safe container, and add fresh, clean soil to the field. We will update you as we know more.

Inquiring minds want to know: who are these morons? The town has concealed their identity and compounded their idiocy by excessively passive writing — six instances in just 123 words. These include:

  • “game . . . was delayed”
  • “poor decision . . . was made”
  • “. . . and is being looked into”
  • “24 gallons of gasoline was poured” (actually should be “were poured”)
  • “and set on fire”
  • “no one was injured”

No, this is not fine.

Rewriting this in the active voice makes it sound even more outrageous.

When a wet field threatened to delay a Ridgefield High School baseball game at Governor Park this morning, some idiots who wanted to “dry the field quicker” made the moronic decision to pour 24 gallons of gasoline on the field and set the field on fire. We had to call out the Fire Department, the Police, Department of Public Works, DEEP (Department of Energy and Environmental Protection), and a certified spill response team to take care of the problem. Luckily, the actions of these idiots didn’t injure anyone. Even so, now we will need to excavate the infield, place the dirt in a safe container, and add fresh, clean soil to the field. It will be safe after that. We’re investigating how this act of stupidity happened. There’s no word on how this might affect town finances or your taxes.

Yo. Ridgefield. Name the idiots. America wants to know.

(As soon as I read “dry the field quicker” I knew something bad was coming . . . )

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  1. Is this a common practice out east? (says the farmer from the west who routinely burns large crop fields down every spring before planting new ones)

  2. I discovered a while back, in an online article about unattributed copies of art, that the “this is fine” panels in your post are from an online comic by KC Green: http://gunshowcomic.com/648

    I only had a vague recollection of it when I saw the panels here. Luckily the Chrome browser has a right-click item to use Google image source and while it didn’t help me find the online article I originally read about it, it did point me to an article on The Verge and also pointed me to KC Green’s comic.

  3. That’s how I felt when I read the article in my news feed. If you’re going to The passive voice to protect the guilty, don’t be so glaringly obvious.