The Chronicle's got a piece by an English grad student about the need for persistence on the job market. Fair enough, I guess. But something jumped out at me.
This grad student starts of by considering the cliche, "Things are never as bad as they seem; they could always be worse." Now, the trick is, how are we supposed to read that little semi-colon? It's sort of inviting us to read it as an abbreviated explicative transition, isn't it? Or some sort of logical relation? "Things are never as bad as they seem--after all, they could always be worse." "Things are never as bad as they seem because they could always be worse." The first claim is the one that needs some explanation--because, really, things really do seem pretty bad, so why should I believe they're not that bad? So then the second claim looks like it's supposed to give just the explanation needed.
But it doesn't. The semi-colon's a total non sequitur. As the job market illustrates in soul-grinding vividness, things are as bad as they seem and it can still get a lot worse.