Friday, October 20, 2006

New York Times Copy Editors Want You To Know They Rocked On The SAT Verbal Section

Using Three-Dollar College Words For Fun and Profit, and Wrongly at That
A front-page story in yesterday's New York Times reported on the latest politicial sex scandal Israeli style.
Juicy stuff. Too bad the lead was written in a way few but the most erudite and those cramming for a spelling bee could know. In other words, in a way totally opposite to how you're supposed to write a newspaper article, even one in the Times.
The first paragraph of the story by Dina Kraft, headined "Israel Warriors Find Machismo Is Way Of Past" starts off:

For decades it was widely accepted that some of Israel’s top military officers and government ministers considered sexual encounters with female employees a seigneurial right.

Come again?
To save you a trip to the dictionary, seigneurial is an adjective pertaining to a seignior, another word for a lord, especially a feudal lord.
True, the Israeli military had its share of macho leaders who may have viewed it as part of their portfolio to drop their pants with any comely teenage secretary in their midst in order to cement their Zionist credentials.
Israeli women studies professor Avigail Moor notes in the article that: "Young women serving in these high-status platoons were almost led to believe that it was something that spoke highly of them if they were chosen to be a sexual partner of a high commanding officer.”
But hardly to the level of a lord being serviced by his vassals.
And even if that was true, a word like seigneurial doesn't belong on the front page of a newspaper. Copy editors at the Times often forget that the paper's mission is to inform readers, not to show off how smart they are.

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