Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Forbidden heds: No math!

Strayhorn proposes a candidate for the Forbidden Heds list:

Republicans divide and conquer the American public.
(Daily Kos)

Obama divides and conquers American Jews.
(Canada Free Press)

Republican congressmen divide and conquer Democrats on cap-and trade.

Chrysler and GM divide and conquer automobile dealerships.

Interior designers divide and conquer small rooms to create an impression of more space.
(Boston Globe magazine)

Marines are not dividing and conquering in Afghanistan.
(Global Post)

"You said there would be no math!" is his plaintive cry. I think this one goes on the list. Discussion?


Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

I'd say the biggest problem is most of them just mean "conquer" - there's no "divide" stage.

11:41 AM, June 17, 2009  
Blogger JD (The Engine Room) said...

I think 'divide and conquer' is acceptable for a war-related story (as long as there is actually dividing and conquering going on). It's all the metaphorical uses that annoy me.

5:10 PM, June 17, 2009  
Anonymous Rich said...

FWIW I think of the key idea behind "diving and conquering" as dividing x up and then conquering each part individually (ie The phrase also appears with the sense of dividing x up and thereby weakening it, making it easier to conquer.

In the latter case, as the Ridger suggests, just using "conquer" might be preferable. This, though, is one of those cases where we have a technical term being used in a non-technical context for a largely non-technical readership. It grates on me because I'm very familiar with the technical usage, but I'm not sure how important that is.

5:59 AM, June 20, 2009  

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