Thursday, 5 March 2009

Drub That Sub!

Gulf News' sub-editors are having a bad week. After yesterday's awful front page headline, today they've managed a nice, 48 point bold literal.

Dr. Shaikh Sultan Al Qassimi Sultan gets Hamdam award for academic excellence

No he doesn't. He gets Hamdan award, named for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

It's online, too. Here.

Oddly enough, I sympathise. I once caused the word Midddle East to be typeset in 96 point text across a double page spread in a book I published in a former life. It took a year before anyone noticed.

I have always blamed a variant on Douglas Adams' SEP Field. The SEP or Somebody Else's Problem Field is an invisibility cloak that uses incongruity, for instance a spaceship that looks like an Italian bistro. The disconnect is so overwhelming that it causes brain skitter and is ignored as somebody else's problem, so rendering the cloaked object invisible.

The same is true of literals. Especially in headlines.

(Wow. I'm not going to be GN's 'weekly blog pick' this week, am I?)

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1 comment:

Media Junkie said...

hehe i love the SEP field. it's so convenient.

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