Thursday, June 30, 2011

Balms away

The Triangle buro checked in early with this gem from the front of Thursday's N&O, but by the time any screen-grabs could be grabbed, it had been scrubbed.* Thus, it took a little work to find an extant online version that still referred to alienation of affection as "heart bomb." Here's the corresponding graf from the story:

Divorce attorneys say it is rare for a public figure to file such a lawsuit, which is known in legal circles as a "heart bomb" action.

If you want to be taken seriously as an authority on what goes on in legal circles, you don't have to have a lawyer reading behind you. But it would help to have someone who's been around the block enough times to know why "balm" is more likely than "bomb."

As many of you already know, the Raleigh and Charlotte fishwraps are preparing to consolidate "production work" -- meaning copy editing and page design --
into a single "production center" in Charlotte. (Andy Bechtel's tribute sums up the impact of that move eloquently) No one's going to suggest that any particular management blunder, or any single cut in staff, can be conclusively held responsible for any individual error. But as with climate change, we can confidently say that the cumulative effect is an atmosphere that's steadily more hospitable to unusual and potentially disastrous blunders.

It's worth reiterating that the story is about a civil, not a criminal, case. None of the principals were available for comment by deadline. As a DA, the plaintiff is a public official, and she's about to become head of the state association for prosecutors. Hard to see anything in there that makes "Johnston D.A.: Pal was 'other woman'" into a frontpage story.

Until you get to the third graf and "salacious 16-page court filing," that is. The copydesk can keep you from looking like an amateur on the usage front, but it needs permission from on high to keep you from looking like a jackass.

* Late-breaking pdf files of the offending page -- 12A, is it? -- are of course still welcome.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I'm reasonably sure "criminal conversation" should be "criminal conversion."

7:48 AM, July 01, 2011  
Blogger fev said...

"Criminal conversation" is more or less the same thing as adultery; the elements are (1) a marriage and (2) sex between the naughty spouse and the defendant. Alienation of affection isn't a necessary element, but it can be (e.g. Tennessee) an aggravating element.

9:09 PM, July 01, 2011  
Anonymous Andy Bechtel said...

I have the print version of this story. I'll scan and send later this week.

11:04 AM, July 03, 2011  
Blogger fev said...

Thanks, Andy. It's good to be able to remind the younguns that the print version still lands on a goodly number of doorsteps.

10:37 PM, July 04, 2011  

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