or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Here's a bit from Slate.com's women-only group blog (I wanted to quote only the last sentence, but it makes even less sense without the previous couple of paragraphs):

Planned Parenthood has an alternative for Indiana shoppers who were uninspired by this year's exceptionally bleak and cheerless Black Friday. Instead of stocking stuffers, residents of the Midwestern state can instead give their loved ones gift certificates in increments of $25 that can be credited toward any of the organization's services and products from birth control to abortions.

According to Chrystal Struben-Hall, VP of Planned Parenthood in Indiana, the gift certificate campaign will provide options to women who, in light of winter expenses and the economic climate, may have shunted health care costs to the bottom of their priority lists.

Struben-Hall maintains that the certificates aren't specifically intended to dissuade the cost of abortion, but critics of the program have objected to the lack of an official restriction preventing this.

What the hell is going on in that last sentence? It's dreadful, bejumbled with reversals and negatives: you nearly have to lay a trail of breadcrumbs to find your way through it. (In short, the certificates permit an action that critics say should be explicitly forbidden.) It's a bad sentence and a horrible way to try to get a point across. It should have been thoroughly rewritten, possibly broken into two pieces for clarity.

Worse, though, is the word "dissuade", which is simply wrong in that context. To dissuade is to persuade not to do something; you can dissuade a woman from having an abortion, but you can't dissuade the cost of something. It's meaningless. What do you suppose was intended? "Defray", perhaps? It's the only thing I can come up with.

For the love all the is right and proper, Slate, hire some editors. And if you already have some, hire better ones.


Post a Comment

<< Home