Friday, August 03, 2007

Two tropes enter! One trope leaves!

Here's a fun game you can play at home. It's called Hypothetical Copy Editor from Mars. Imagine you've just arrived from some distant planet with nine suns, a lot of plutonium-based foliage and a thriving broadsheet daily press industry. Now see how long it takes you to figure out the rules -- style, story play, policy and the like -- of the earthling news medium of your choice.

Today we have an important lesson in how "hed transitivity" (if story theme A is more important than theme B, and B is more important than C, then A is more important than C) works at The Fair and Balanced Network. Two elemental Fox themes are in play in this story: The subject is both a minister's wife and a missing mom. We all know that preacher's wives are a big deal:

Small Tennessee Town Braces for Start of Minister's Wife's Murder Trial

Minister's Wife Wants Evidence Excluded

... but could anything be more important than a missing mom?

NJ Man Tied To Missing Mom Surrenders

Ex-Con Named 'Person Of Interest' In Missing Mom Case

Chicago TV Reporter Videotaped Wearing Swimsuit at Home of Missing Mom Lisa Stebic

Missing Mom Mystery: Scene of the Crime

What's your call?

OK, to save you the suspense, raise one green tentacle if you picked "minister's wife," because you qualify as a rimrat for Fox News!

Missing Minister's Wife Returns to Alabama From New York

Yes, even though she "knows she made a 'serious mistake' by leaving" and "has returned home to Alabama to be with her two children," the power of the pastorate overcomes the tug of motherhood.

You might have an easier time of it if your home planet has more case inflection than Fox World. Here on Earth (at least in the parts where we speak English and use real money), we have a hard time telling whether "missing minister's wife" means "wife of the missing minister" or "minister's wife, who is missing." Meanwhile, go ahead and set up that direct deposit. You're ready to go to work.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time I see that headline, I think the missing minister's wife killed him and hid the body.

is it just me? I think "missing minister," not "missing (minister's wife)"


6:26 PM, August 06, 2007  

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