Washington "Times" Ditches Old-Timey Scare Quotes

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New Washington Times editor John Solomon, with a stroke of his MSM-laced pen, has done away with the Moonie newspaper tradition of putting scare quotes around "gay marriage," referring to gay people as "homosexuals," and referring to illegal immigrants as "illegal aliens."

Some may call it progress (though I guess I missed the day when "homosexual" was deemed a comparative slur), but I for one will mourn the passing of Wes Pruden's style guide. There is a great flattening out of acceptable styles in American newspaperdom, especially as concerns its most controversial topic areas, and it has often been to the detriment of the overall language (for instance, my beloved verb "Welsh" is insulta non grata at the L.A. Times and many other newspapers). And there's something refreshingly transparent about putting your headline style where your heart is.    

Jacob Sullum on the implications of "gay marriage" here. More scare-quote appreciation here. (Link via Romenesko.)

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  1. my beloved verb “Welsh” is insulta non grata at the L.A. Times and many other newspapers

    I know there’s a crass, juvenile and insulting pun to be made with your own last name here, but I’m too damned tired to figure out what it is.

  2. What else do you call someone who renegs on a bet?

  3. What else do you call someone who renegs on a bet?

    A Washington Times “editor.”

  4. But we can still use “libertarian” around here, right?

  5. The “editorial staff” of the Washington Times “newspaper” have a sincere “commitment” to “reporting” the “unvarnished” “facts.”

  6. Jennifer wins the thread!

  7. The “editorial staff” of the Washington Times “newspaper” have a sincere “commitment” to “reporting” the “unvarnished” “facts.”

    As long as they are “fair and balanced”.

  8. They call them “scare quotes”, but I always read them as mocking. Such this sentence: “as if there is really a thing that they call scare quotes”.
    Perhaps not perfectly aligned with mocking, but more in that direction than “oh my gosh, fear the quotes!”.

  9. Matt needs to become a tyrannical editor-in-chief and “do away” with things like “scare quotes” with a stroke of his PCP-laced pen.

  10. So what’s happening with Ron Paul, the “candidate”?

  11. Actually “IllegalAlien” is the correct legal term, as used in the USCode. IllegalImmigrants is a misnomer, since the second part implies legality.

  12. The correct legal term has “spaces” between the “words.” Seriously, LW–why don’t you use your spacebar when writing about things which annoy you?

  13. Yeah, I’ll really “miss” the gay bashing and scare-mongering.

  14. Actually “IllegalAlien” is the correct legal term, as used in the USCode. IllegalImmigrants is a misnomer, since the second part implies legality.

    Sorry to feed trolls, but…

    How can a term imply legality in its second word when its first word is illegal?

    You crack me up sometimes, man…

  15. if he puts in too many spaces, mexicans will move into the gaps and BeginTheReconquista!

  16. LW’s lack of spaces probably has to do with him linking to his H&R posts in a wiki. The “CamelCase” (how’s that for “scare” quotes) words create automatic links to pages with the same name as the camel case word. Of course, there are other ways of creating wiki links, but camel case is the lazy man’s method.

    Anyway, how does the term “immigrant” imply legality? Jackass.

  17. Hey LW –
    how about “UndocumentedWorker?”
    🙂

  18. I’m ashamed to say that I clicked the link. All there is is another assertion that “immigrant” implies legality.

  19. I don’t mind scare quotes so much.

    This however, is funny:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/quoteabuse/

  20. Actually, “Another Phil” is lying or mistaken. I link to search results from the USCode. You know, those red underlined phrases “many times” and “only one time”. Can’t miss ’em.

  21. Lone, you owe it to us to answer Jennifer’s question. Why the lack of spaces?

  22. There is a great flattening out of acceptable styles in American newspaperdom, especially as concerns its most controversial topic areas, and it has often been to the detriment of the overall language

    It depends on whether The Times has given up its anti-gay bias. If they’ve recently discovered that teh gay does in fact exist, and have come closer to mainstream American opinion on the matter, then I welcome the change. On the other hand, if they’re still anti-gay then I agree that the loss of the style that makes it immediately obvious is regrettable.

  23. Click ‘n’ Learn | February 26, 2008, 1:15pm | #

    Actually, “Another Phil” is lying or mistaken

    Why dont you just say, “Or a faggot immigration appeaser” if you’re going to call a guy a LIAR for innocently trying to interpret your own unique brand of idiocy, which despite repeated inquiry, you have never BOTHERED TO ANSWER.

    If you dont want people “speculating” about why you’re such a fucked up retard, then why dont you explain exactly what your spacebar problem is so we dont have to wonder anymore?

    Or, alternatively, just permanently fuck off

  24. I take the early part of my comment back. I prefer not to know, and have you just fuck off.

  25. Good to see they changed.

    In the past, they changed my reference to “gay people” to “homosexuals” in my published letter to the editor against the federal hate crimes bill.

    That weakened the whole point of my letter, which was that the obsession of social conservatives with the bill’s inclusion of sexual orientation distracted attention from the real problems and dangers associated with the hate crimes bill, like the hate crimes bill’s erosion of double-jeopardy safeguards and federalism, problems that had nothing to do with gay rights.

  26. I take the early part of my comment back. I prefer not to know, and have you just fuck off.

    Yes, I’ll second that sentiment. I think all these repeated requests for an explanation just feed his self-obsessed, ego-maniacal delusions of relevance as evidenced by the obnoxiously incessant self-linking posts. Throw in the continued whining that reason doesn’t cover stories he thinks are important, and the constant sneering, insulting nature (both explicitly and in tone) of his posts and I just don’t get why the silly spacing is worth worrying about. Does any of his behavior around here make you think he is a reasonable person who is going to give you a reasonable answer to that, or any other, question?

  27. Does any of his behavior around here make you think he is a reasonable person who is going to give you a reasonable answer to that, or any other, question?

    You never know. How many of our firmly held beliefs have been influenced by our past experiences? For example, I personally have no problem with third-worlders coming here to make a better life for themselves, but if one of them stole my spacebar I could see how my attitude might change.

  28. What else do you call someone who renegs on a bet?

    A Washington Times “editor.”

    Very funny, Jennifer. But, to show our new sensitivity we have made a few other changes as well. Due to complaints that the term “Indian giver” was offensive we will no longer use it in our paper. From now on the correct term will be the more culturally sensitive “Native-American giver.”

  29. I wonder if Ron Paul used scare quotes in his newsletters when he was spewing his bile about blacks and jews. I guess it must have read something like this (I am borrowing from an actual “fact” provided by Paul himself): 95% of blacks are on “welfare”, and all they do is pick up a check . That will be something this site will have to investigate as soon as the editors and posters get their head out of his bigoted ass.

  30. OK, here’s TheScoop. ValZavala StoleMySpacebar InOrderTo give it to him.

  31. Allowing writers to use “gay” rather than “homosexual” saves space and makes sense, as I explained above.

    That change is welcome.

    However, the change from “illegal alien” to “illegal immigrant” may, if made mandatory rather than merely permitted, reduce accuracy.

    “Alien” is not an insult, but a term that contains additional meaning beyond “illegal,” by relating to domicile.

    It refers to a legal distinction, that also distinguishes between LEGAL immigrants and LEGAL aliens, the former being entitled to remain here forever, and the latter being entitled to remain here legally only for a temporary or limited period.

    Illegal aliens cannot lawfully have a U.S. domicile, anymore than legal aliens can.

    The difference between them is that illegal aliens cannot even remain here temporarily, as legal aliens can.

    So it makes little sense to make them seem more permanent (by calling them “Immigrants”) than legal aliens lawfully present are, since illegal aliens have even less right to remain here than legal aliens do.

  32. Just wondering when “gay” started meaning “homosexual of either sex”, so that “gay[s] and lesbian[s]” became redundant?

  33. “Alien” didn’t used to have any derogatory meaning, until Sigourney Weaver ruined the term for everyone.

  34. since illegal aliens have even less right to remain here than legal aliens do

    Your terminology is correct as far as current law goes, but many of us believe the current law is unjust. A pot smoker is technically a “criminal”, but I’m not going out of my way to insist upon punishing him.

    Just wondering when “gay” started meaning “homosexual of either sex”, so that “gay[s] and lesbian[s]” became redundant?

    I think it’s always been possible to apply it to either gender but since women already have a noun to themselves (“lesbian”) and men don’t, it got applied mostly to men.

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