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The Invisible Truth: Bad Writing Example #2

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Bad Writing Example #2

People who write for newspapers have a tough job; they have to meet constant pressing deadlines. A lopsided, lackadaisicle blogger like myself can write at his leisure, with pleasure. That said, some of the mistakes and misprints of newpapers are quite humorous, as those who are very familiar with this blog well know. The piece of writing that I'm about to lampoon is a quote, so I can't fault the journalist for it. It's a quote of a television producer, but it includes a typo that renders its horrendousness hyperbolic.

Here it is:

"The feeling is that historical Canadian history isn't what Canadian audiences want. It's important for Canadians to hear our own stories . . . But for now it's never been harder to do historial drama in this country." Kevin DeWalt, producer of "The Englishman's Boy" (The Canadian Press, Metro News, Monday December 3).

First of all, what the hell is "historical history?" Pleonasm anyone? Generally pleonasm is a rhetorical device used for humour, but something tells me he's not trying to be funny. And if that redundancy wasn't enough for you, you have the misspelled adjective "historial" repeated once more in the last sentence of the quote. Phew!

And now for a history of historical history.

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