It is 8:30am and I am sitting in the jury lounge to see if I will be called to serve as a juror for the District Court of Montgomery County. My stomach is in knots, not only because I have a huge amount of work to do and this is a kind of crummy week to be missing time at the office, though that is definitely part of it. The knots also are not only because today is my 13 year old daughters last day of Chemotherapy for Hodkin’s Lymphoma, though that is certainly a part of it as well. But the elephant in the room – the bloody and incredibly sad elephant – is Patty Rebholtz. I’m thinking of Patty and really, really, not wanting to hear my number called.
I love his books, and have been reading his blog for years. John Scalzi’s recent post on the Penn State Child Rape issue is excellent and pretty much says everything I would were I as good a writer as he. He also analogizes the situation with an Ursula K. LeGuinn story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” that I had forgottern about until I read his post. Extra bonus points!
If your underling comes to you to report that he saw another man, also your underling, raping a small child, but then left that small child with the rapist, you should a) call the police immediately, b) alert your own superiors, c) immediately suspend the alleged rapist underling from his job responsibilities pending a full investigation, d) at the appropriate time in the future ask that first underling why the fuck he did not try to save that kid.
The word “tot” doesn’t give me the heebie-jeebies all by itself (not like, say, “linoleum,” or “panties”), but it seems like CNN has developed quite a fetish for the use of the word. I suppose it’s to save headline space and help make their lists of links look nicer by preventing lines from wrapping, but it just seems out of place in nearly every case. Used less frequently, and to slightly less consternation on my part is the word “kin.”
Neither of these words seem appropriate to the types of stories they are used to promote. They seem to convey a sense of informality, or even condescension, that is rarely appropriate to the content of the story.
Here are some examples that make my stomach turn in the way it used to every day working for a television station:
- Tot who died on Disney ride had bad heart
- Missing tot’s trail goes cold after three months
- Tot had heart sticker on mouth
- Tot mom meant to kill!
- Twister kills two mothers protecting kin
- Buffett: Tax my kin, please (not surprisingly, Buffet did not actually say “kin”)
- Kidnapped soldier’s kin: Stop the killing