That's not good enough for truly devoted nitpickers, who continue to patiently explain that "I could care less" is a monstrous inversion of meaning. But the fact is, we accept flaws in logic much larger than this when we're engaged in reading or listening, rather than proofreading or peeving.
I was reminded of this by a story last month in the New York Times Magazine, in which Sarah Hepola described her struggles as an editor of confessional writing. Hepola wrote that she found herself "excising the grimmest parts of personal essays, torn between my desire to protect the human being and my knowledge that such unforgettable detail would boost a story’s click-through rate." Then came a paragraph with a couple of little speed bumps:
"This feels a little unprocessed," I told writers who shared their tales of date rape and eating disorders, but it was hard to deny that the internal chaos, that fog of confusion, could make for compelling reading, like dispatches from inside a siege. Yet "unprocessed" was exactly what [Cat] Marnell’s pieces were, and damned if I couldn’t stop devouring them.
That last clause is where I paused: "damned if I couldn’t stop devouring them.” The usual way to say what she means is "damned if I could stop,” which translates as “I couldn’t.” The idiom involves swearing to the truth of your report: In full, it's something like “I’ll be damned (as a liar) if I (say I) could stop.” That is: "I couldn’t stop."
And that's not the only misnegation. Both sentences in Hepola's paragraph say the same thing, in essence: Personal train wreck tales are both repellent and riveting. But for some reason the word that connects them is "Yet," as if the second sentence somehow qualified or contradicted the first, when it actually supports it; taking out the "yet" is a clear improvement. (Did an editor insert it, I wonder?)
But I'm not surprised that the wording passed unnoticed. By this point, a reader knows what Hepola's intending to say, and the "literal" reading would make no sense. As Mark Liberman and other Language Loggers have shown repeatedly, "our poor old monkey brains are not quite evolved enough" to handle such complexity; most of the time, we just take in the message we were meant to receive and ignore the logical glitches.
I’m not arguing that "getting the meaning across" is all that matters; if I thought that, I wouldn’t have become an editor. But monkey minds or not, we're smart enough to understand "one of the only people to have played in the NBA and for a major-league baseball team." Anyone interested in improving the language could easily find bigger fish to fry.