or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Editorial Cartoons

Sometimes all it takes is one wrong word.

My eagle-eyed friend Ralph pointed out a Toronto Star piece about a movie called Nuremberg: Its Lesson For Today, which contains the following sentence:

The 1948 documentary revealed in the starkest of terms the extent of Nazi complicity in the war and Hitler’s genocidal policy against the Jews and others.

Ralph had this to say:

"Complicity" seems absurd here. How can you describe the perpetrator as being complicit in his own crime? Either Howell doesn't know anything about the English language or he knows nothing of 20th century history.

And I would have to agree. "Complicit" seems like an inadequate word, to say the least: You can't be complicit in a crime which you have masterminded, engineered, and brought to fruition. Complicity is for accomplices--the two words are even the same word, for heaven's sake.

An editor should have fixed this.


Another newpaper, another continent, another kind of mistake: here's are a couple of sentences from an interview with tenor Marcelo Alvarez from The Times Online:

Alvarez almost walked out of Christof Loy’s staging of Lucia di Lammermoor seven years ago. Booed by the audience, it updated Verdi to the 1920s, with an orgy to boot.

It is hard to see how a staging of Lucia could considered an update of Verdi, since the opera was written by Donizetti. (The two composers weren't even writing in the same period or the same style: Donizetti's last opera premiered only four years after Verdi's first.)

An editor should have fixed this.


From the invariably thought-provoking Harper's Index in the May 2010 issue:

Number of grammatical errors found by a retired high school teacher in a single issue of The Miami Herald in January: 133.

Safe to say there's no editor on duty at the Herald, then.


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