Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stop eating children

That pesky comma of direct address! You can't fool it by putting the thing you're addressing at the beginning of the hed. It will have its revenge.

The command after the semicolon helps a bit, but I don't think it's conclusive. This is a letter to the editor, so the Donner Party meaning could be a plausible reflection of the get-off-my-lawn randomness of day's letters.

Whether the intended meaning is accurate is another question altogether. Its intent appears to be drawn from the last sentence:

It's time people start being responsible for their own futures, and not rely on the government for handouts.

But the letter as printed makes no mention of Occupiers or Occupying. The Observer is known to whack the letters pretty hard, so it's certainly possible that the cutting-room floor is littered with 700-some carefully crafted words damning the Occupiers for the stalinist lizard creatures they are. Or the hed writer might have simply made it up. And fundamental cluelessness about the Donner Party comma hardly fills one with confidence.

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