Sunday, June 26, 2011

Failure is an option

Somewhere between the source, the reporter and the cliche-osphere, this one got turned around:

"Finishing school is not an option," Tonya said. "He has to do it."

She doesn't mean she's going to keep her son (the Pistons' top pick in the recent draft) from going to finishing school. She means that finishing vs. not finishing isn't a free choice -- or in "failure is not an option" terms, that not finishing school is not an option.

Given that the quote seems to be pointing two ways, this seems like a nice time for the writer to step in with a paraphrase and a partial quote.

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Blogger Jan said...

I'm afraid the writer may not see a problem with the use of "not an option" to mean "not optional." I blogged about this last fall, citing a Tide tagline -- "Style is an option. Clean is not" -- that also does it, and that is still on the air. To me, that means "clean" is not among one's choices -- an odd claim or a detergent to make.

12:06 PM, June 26, 2011  

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