Sunday, January 06, 2013

Capacity for what?

Dear Washington Post: What is this "high-capacity ammunition" you speak of in the lede of the top story on Sunday's front?

You can tell me that everybody knows what you meant, and that's possibly true. But diagram it yourself: the modifiers are pointing right at "ammunition," and nothing in the sentence says anything about the thing that holds the ammunition or feeds it into the weapon.

Accuracy is nice for its own sake, of course, and attention to detail on stuff that's familiar is one way of assuring the audience that you're going to be reliable when you get off into uncharted and sometimes anonymous territory (which the story actually does rather well). But there are cases in which it pays to be particularly careful, because anything you do is likely to be held up by the weasels as evidence of your ignorance, fear and "smug moralism."
Please don't give the clowns an even break.

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