Author Birthdays
Hard Times

nytimes illiteracy #2: false heroines

Rar!Moi First we had vans "back-ending over" curbs. Now we have the Queen averting a train derailment!  All by herself! She's a heroine!

No, she's not. She merely passively avoided the train derailment. She did not actually have any active part in preventing the derailment from happening. And yet, here's the headline and first para of the article:

Retired Cop: Queen Narrowly Averted Train Disaster

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II narrowly escaped disaster in 1970 when a large wooden log was placed on a railroad track in an apparent attempt to derail her train as she traveled across Australia, a retired detective said Wednesday.

Although the story itself is an AP wire story, it's likely that the headline was written by the Times. What the heck is going on there? Are they hiring illiterate idiots now? "Avert" means to turn aside or prevent, not to avoid or escape. This headline is totally misleading! The Queen is not a heroine, she's just the Queen.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


If you have a friend who is good at Photoshop, I think it would be a great comeback to post photos of the mental image of each example of bad journalistic writing.

I can already visualize an image of the queen averting a train wreck. Too bad my brain doesn't have a wireless connection to my notebook.

The comments to this entry are closed.