Monday, July 30, 2007

Learn new words from the Boston Globe!

Two vocabulary lessons in today's Boston Globe and Boston.com. First, in the "Secret Spaces" photo essay, a section of the Boston Public Library that is closed to the public is described as "a no man's land for visitors, where the research material and rare and valuable books are kept." At first, I assumed that the Globe staff was under the mistaken belief that "no man's land" could refer to a place where "no man" is allowed, rather than an area where no government or army is in firm control. But it's possible that there's some kind of war going on between different factions among the books, and visitors risk getting beaned by flying volumes. If so, and only if so, the Globe is correct. Today's Globe has a front-page story headlined "Analysts cool on impact of 'super' primary," which begins: "The "Super-Duper Tuesday" series of primaries proposed for Feb. 5 of next year -- once considered likely to decide the two presidential nominees -- now may be little more than a prelude to a final, decisive series of contests largely in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast." Who is making the case that the later primaries are going to have any real significance for the first time in at least 24 years? Well, there's a "GOP consultant" based on Ohio (which has a late primary), a state representative from Pennsylvania (which has a late primary), and the chairman of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts (yes, we have a late primary). These people seem more like spin doctors than "analysts." There is one person quoted (actually, paraphrased) in the last paragraph of the story who doesn't have any self-interest in making the case that later primaries will be important -- a political science professor in New Hampshire. But he doesn't justify the plural "analysts" in the headline. And he doesn't seem "cool" on the Super Primary, essentially saying that it may or may not decide the nomination contests. So the headline is 71 percent accurate; it's only the first two words that aren't supported by the story.

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