Thursday, 6 September 2007

PR agents and other Nazis

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Being interested solely in highbrow entertainment such as books by AA Gill, Oscar Wilde plays and Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, I wouldn't dream of giving credence to the notion that such cretinous, vacuous entertainment as Big Brother deserves its place in the TV schedule, much less watch the damned thing. It is therefore purely coincidence that, while on my internet travels, my eye was caught by a couple of pieces of entertainment journalism about the latest UK Big Brother.

The first of the aforementioned titbits is from the Popbitch entertainment newsletter to which I am a friend is a subscriber.
The Big Brother twins have signed up with
Charlotte Church's former manager, Jonathan
Shalit. They might regret this after the press
release his company put out to announce it,
which we've copied word for word below.
If only they could read.

------ Forwarded Message
From: Jonathan
Conversation: Samantha and Amanda fror Big
Brother aka 'The Twins'
Subject: Samantha and Amanda fror Big Brother
aka 'The Twins'

Their sweet
........Their Lovely
................Their Adorable
...Their joined at the hip

And speak in stereo...Welcome to SAMANDA
World....and We represent them...

Andrew Castle...Charley...Dane Bowers...Ian 'H'
Watkins...Jamelia...Javine...Jonathan Ansell...
Konnie Huq...Myleene Klass...Nina Myskow.

That was sent to me by Dave K but I admit it, I can't get enough trashy entertainment and I regularly trawl the internet for D-list celebrity news. I love all that, me.

The next article that caught my eye did so for all the wrong reasons. It seems that the winner of Big Brother and lovable simpleton, Brian was the target of a hate campaign by racists. There are few things that get me as riled as a misplaced apostrophe but racism is one of them. This article caused me to get my knickers in a right old twist by combining both of these peeves.
The Daily Star have reported that a group of “racist” blogger's are furious over Bri’s relationship with Amanda and are desperate to turn fans against him.

A group of extreme right-wing bloggers have taken to the internet and labeled his relationship with Amanda as “sick and evil.”
However other Big Brother fans have hit back at "racist" blogger’s, labeling them "shameful."

Apart from the obvious apostrophe error in "blogger's", I think they went a bit overboard on the quotation marks. If someone thinks a relationship between a black lad and a white girl is sick and evil, I'd stick my neck out and say that was racist. I wouldn't feel the need to hide behind quotation marks. I know they were recycling a story from the Daily Star but they had already acknowledged that; to use additional quotation marks gives the impression that they are using the word in a sarcastic manner and they don't agree with the labelling (two Ls in the UK please).

Another thing: as the smallest amount of investigation would have revealed, the racist comments were posted on a forum and not a blog. Therefore I think the phrase should have read, 'racist "bloggers"'

Those of you sad enough to be familiar with Sam, Amanda and Brian will know that this intellectually challenged bunch of teenagers committed more crimes to vocabulary and grammar while in the house than I can document in this post. Here is but one example of why kids should stay in school.

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Blogger Paddy said...

I find the overuse of quotation marks, and also inverted commas, is becoming increasingly common. A few weeks ago I was hanging around in a convalescent home and read a poster advertising a forthcoming social evening that read:

Join us for a Pie and Pea Supper, plus 'Bingo' and 'Karaoke'. All welcome.

Lord knows what will be happening there that night. Not bingo or karaoke but 'Bingo' and 'Karaoke', which presumably differ wildly. It's as if the organisers have added their own special twists to each event, and still wanted to call them bingo and karaoke but felt almost ashamed to misrepresent their social evening, so just threw the inverted commas in as a get-out clause. Probably a wise move actually, as some old miner would probably sue for false advertising, such is our compensation culture these days.

6 September 2007 at 20:28  
Blogger Tom said...

Good stuff.
However, I don't agree that there's anything wrong with "hiding" "behind" "quotation marks". If you want to be absolutely clear that you're quoting and not paraphrasing, I don't see any problem. I don't think (in this context) you can insinuate any sort of bias, as long as the quotation marks are applied consistently.
If the article had read "However other namby-pamby liberal Big Brother fans have hit back at "racist" blogger’s, labeling them "shameful...", I would think differently.

6 September 2007 at 21:31  
Blogger Gez said...

I can see your point, I still think they are unnecessary but concede that they are not incorrect.

On this subject, check out this "blog"

A question: am I right in thinking that when ending a sentence with a quoted phrase (i.e. where the quote itself isn't a complete sentence), one should place the full stop after closing the quotation.

Therefore “sick and evil.” and "shameful." are wrong, aren't they?

P.S. Don't put a comma after "however" when it starts a sentence. That's a tip, kids - write it down.

6 September 2007 at 23:15  
Blogger Tom said...

You are right; one should place the full stop after closing the quotation. Although this rule can get a bit foggy if you're quoting an entire sentence. Bryson's Troublesome Words covers this and, from what I can remember, leaves it to the writer (or their publishing house) to establish a style and apply it consistently.
One should also end sentences which begin "Am I right in thinking..." with a question mark.

7 September 2007 at 07:25  
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