Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 31, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

"SCARE" QUOTES....This being Memorial Day weekend, not many people are posting over at The Corner. Andrew Stuttaford is, however, and after seeing so many Stuttaford posts in a row I have a question: what's with all the scare quotes? Some examples:

  • 11:43 AM: ....good piece in the Guardian on the security failures in Saudi Arabia....public debate over the future of Prince Nayef....

  • 4:22 PM: The war against the obesity epidemic continues in all its absurdity....

  • 4:21 PM: Interesting story in the Sunday Telegraph on the curriculum of the Saudi-funded King Fahd....

  • 12:36 PM: One of the reasons that the EU has so little credibility with its citizens....Romano Prodi, the EUs shrill, sleazy and incompetent president....

I get the point of citizens in the last example, but why president? Like him or not, Prodi really is the EU president, right? Ditto for King Fahd and Prince Nayef. And is Saudi Arabia some kind of conservative in joke? That's really the name of the country, after all.

And I could understand obesity epidemic as a way of snarkily indicating that it's not a real epidemic, but why obesity epidemic? Agree or not, they really are talking about the problem of too many people being fat.

I'm not really kvetching about Stuttaford's use of scare quotes it's a perfectly standard device in polemical writing I'm just curious about their rather idiosyncratic use in these cases. Is there some kind of code involved? If there is, I want to know what it is.

Kevin Drum 12:49 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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