October 13, 2008 SMH “write” with an overuse of “scare quotes” according to their purposes
There’s been plenty of chat over at Hoyden and linked to here previously regarding the passive voice in the reports of rape when the victim is a woman, and the effect of using the passive voice (ie/ the impression that women ‘get’ raped, it’s just something that happens to them etc).
Check out this article then. The title? U.S Serviceman in Cross ‘assault’ claim. Now…if we’re wanting to make the point that thus far it’s an allegation, the old ‘innocent until proven guilty’ biz, well claim covered that really didn’t it? So…use EITHER claim, OR ‘assault’, not both. Though really even without the doubling up here of doubt, ‘assault’ signifies more as a show of doubt don’t you think? Putting ‘assault’ in scare quotes, particularly following locating it as happening in the Cross makes it sound like you’re raising an eyebrow, like ‘Yeah, right, “assault“, like the serviceman is lying here and not the sex worker’.
Then the first line: The US consulate has confirmed that a US serviceman has been questioned over an “incident”.
Um…well, if the consulate has confirmed the serviceman has been questioned over an incident? Then it’s an incident, not an “incident”.
Police say they are investigating an alleged assault involving a prostitute in Sydney
Well I guess if they say they are then they are right? Like as in they confirmed it. Ok, alleged assault might be fair if not in company with the rest of this crap, however how’s about
Police confirmed they are investigating the allegation that a US serviceman raped woman in Sydney.
Police confirmed today that a US serviceman is being investigated after allegations that the serviceman raped a woman in Sydney.
It’s hard not to see the reference to the woman being a prostitute as being another way to cast doubt upon her story – also??? How is that something that just *is* established fact when it seems we need to hypothesise and use scare quotes for everything else?
I’m not suggesting we start to assume guilt immediately. I’m suggesting that claim adequately covers the fact it’s a claim, I’m suggesting that the scare quotes for “incident” were unneccessary, and the continual use of linguistic markers of doubt is ludicrous.
The contrast between this and the second incident reported is startling. This time there was an incident not an “incident”. This time a Marine was punched in the face, and he was left with injuries which the article detailed.
Is it possible that the woman in question in the first incident sustained injuries? Might it have been reported that:
A Marine is under investigation, police confirmed after a suspected rape in Sydney. The woman was taken from the scene for medical treatment following an incident in which it is alleged that the Marine raped the woman.
Ok. I’m tired, and that’s my first crack at writing it in a way which doesn’t make it sound like a load of codswollop – that doesn’t make it sound like “Hey, who’re you gonna believe? A Marine of a prostitute?”. The article finishes with this quote about the visiting Marines:
“You’ll find that they’re lions in time of war and lambs in time of peace. So, hopefully, they’ll get along with everybody,” Colonel Brian Beaudreault told the media on Friday.
I…clearly they did NOT get on with everyone if someone is alleging rape. And what is that a nice wrap up? To ensure we don’t miss the point: that we have one alleged, supposed, “incident” (well so says a prostitute) where a sex worker in the Cross if you please accuses the little lamb, and another incident where some bastard attacks a poor defenceless lamb?