July 09, 2003
Careless Or Vicious? You Be The Judge

It's not on their website, or at least not on the front page, but the lead story in today's local paper comes with this headline:

Bush Condemns ‘Crime’ of Slavery

I hope those are supposed to be quotation marks indicating Bush's actual word choice. Since Americans generally use “double quotations” for that purpose, these single quotations look a lot more like ironic ‘sneer quotes’. If irony is intended, it's not entirely clear who is the target, and I don't know which of the two possible implications is worse: that the editors don't believe slavery was a crime, or that they don't believe that Bush believes it was. The newspaper is called the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, which may offer a hint as to the likelihood of a sneer and its likely target.

My local grocery store (Wegman's) has a more innocently amusing sign in the bakery section:

Donut Holes
2 for $4

That seems awfully high for such simple delicacies.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at July 09, 2003 03:41 PM

Traditionally, newspapers always use single quotes rather than double quotes in headlines, probably because they take up less horizontal space. (Writing headlines is all about trying to squeeze into the space you have above the story once it's laid out, which is also the reason that headlines aren't written by the reporters -- the reporters can't know ahead of time how much space there'll be to fit the headline into in the final laid-out paper.)

I agree with you that it looks bad in this case.

Posted by: Combustible Boy on July 10, 2003 10:42 AM

Mmm...Wegman's doughnut holes....

Posted by: Evan McElravy on July 12, 2003 02:16 AM