Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book shocks

Certain southeastern founts o'knowledge are using transitive hed verbs without objects again. This one bothers me not so much because of the construction as the sheer are-you-kiddingness of it.

There's a lot to dislike about the lede:

A presidential campaign-turned soap opera turned a new chapter Wednesday as John Edwards and his wife announced their separation, and a new book purports to explain how Edwards covered up his steamy affair and the paternity that resulted.

The compound in the subject is about three hyphens short, "turned a new chapter" is off base even as a cliche, and I can't tell whether the "new book purports" clause is supposed to be part of the new chapter or a thing unto itself. But the bigger issue is still the hed. Who exactly is supposed to be shocked? How many readers do you expect will pick up the paper and find out for the first time -- shazam! -- that John Edwards behaved like a sleazebag of genuinely epic proportions?

Granted, the Obs has a lot of breathless pro-Edwards shilling to make up for. Surely there are better ways to atone.



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