Favorite

Words 

Years ago, a legislator complained to me about the headline on an article concerning his activities: “Doe flays Roe.”

He didn't think his constructive criticism of a fellow lawmaker constituted a “flaying.” I explained to him that headline writers use a special vocabulary, heavy on short, emphatic verbs, and that this can combine with the writers' own excitability to produce a kind of trite overstatement. He nodded.

The Onion understands. The satirical on-line newspaper paid tribute to headline jargon the other day: “Clinton Blasts Obama for Slamming Edwards Jab.”

Words matter, even the little ones. A fair-sized controversy developed recently over a state law whose meaning changed drastically when an intended “not” was inadvertently omitted. Carroll Hyatt has found a similar error on a plaque at the Little Rock Nine sculpture on the Capitol grounds. The plaque says:

“With the help of stalwart parents, other family members and those in the community who shared their vision, this group of young people came to understand the reality of their time, but chose to believe in a reality yet to come. It was, in part, this focus that allowed them to suffer the indignities heaped upon them by those who firmly believed in the laws of equality.”

Hyatt writes, “I would think that equality should be inequality, or believed should be disbelieved.” Me too.

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels has jurisdiction over the Capitol grounds. Informed of the error, the secretary of state's office said that the wording on the plaque was “approved and authored by the Little Rock Nine themselves.”

They should know who heaped on them and who didn't. Still, I think this must be a mistake, and needs correction.

Concerning Peggy Lee fastball (Sept. 13), William Jay Sims says the phrase was turned by pitcher Tim McGraw.

Meanwhile, the presidential race is warming up on the Republican side too:

“Huck Raps McCain, Seeks Rudy Probe.”

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

  |  

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Pot and politics

    The politics of medical marijuana in Arkansas will be an interesting story as it evolves.
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex crusaders

    • A good column and very much needed. And every claim of sexual harassment made now…

    • on January 20, 2018
  • Re: Sex crusaders

    • If I cannot grope, we must elope.

    • on January 19, 2018
  • Re: The Oval outhouse

    • I understand the hatred and appreciate the voice of those who recognize that it leads…

    • on January 18, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation