The intimate fruits of conjugal intimacy
Update: Apparently the phrase was "the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy". Which, while not violating the redundancy rule is still some of the worst writing I've ever seen in my life. I stand by my suggestion that "the ambulatory fruit of conjugal intimacy" is a much better phrase, though Strunk and White would probably still suggestion you say "children".
So Michele Bachmann signed a pledge written by a group called, irritatingly, THE FAMiLY LEADER, a name probably concocted by a guy who tells his wife there's no "i" in "marriage". (Yes, I realize there is.) This pledge tends to, how shall I say this, glorify slavery as a family-friendly institution. They consider this such a big deal that it's bullet point #1 in the pledge:
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.
There's so much to be said here, but I'll leave it to Baratunde:
It's as if these people held a Focus Group Of The Sheltered asking "List everything you know that's black" and came back with "slavery" and "the president."
At least they didn't use the phrase "rap singers", which is one of my favorite red flags that you're going to be reading a "I'm not a racist, but" rant.
But Bartunde discovered more this this slavery stuff. He also discovered in this document the phrase "the intimate fruit of conjugal intimacy", which he and I both take to mean "children", though technically it could also mean the wet spot if you really think about it. But I love this phrase for three major reasons: 1) The WTF factor 2) They appear to think that "children" isn't a word you can use around the faint-hearted and came up with this as a euphemism and 3) That is some poor fucking writing. Like, really poor. Who uses the word "intimate" twice in a single phrase? It's also, as noted before, not accomplishing goal #1 of writing, which is to communicate clearly. They've taken a concept that pretty much everyone understands—"children"—and made it more ambiguous by using a phrase that could refer to a wad of semen, an orgasm, or a case of the clap, as well as children. There's so many ways they could have tweaked that phrase to make it clearer. For instance, "the ambulatory fruit of conjugal intimacy" gives you a lot more information while avoiding redundancy.
Still, even if you go there, it's still bad writing. Someone should send them a copy of Strunk and White with this section highlighted:
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
They then go on to give examples, such as simply saying "he" instead of "he is a man who". They don't advise that you say "children" instead of "intimate fruit of conjugal intimacy", because it didn't occur to them that there could ever be someone whose infatuation with florid language could cause such stupidity.