Dependable Erection

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Was that supposed to be funny?

The lede from Brianne Dopart's article in the Herald-Sun today on new police chief Jose Lopez' first day on the job:
For a man in his first day on the job, Jose Lopez Sr., had a lot of explaining to do.

Nowhere in the article does it mention exactly what Lopez had to explain. In fact, the lede is so out of character with the rest of the article, as well as with the N&O's coverage of the same press conference, that it's hard not see it as a Ricky Ricardo reference.

And the point of that would be, exactly, what?

UPDATE:I met Brianne at the swearing in ceremony for Chief Lopez last night, and we talked about her article. She seemed to me to be genuinely surprised at the cultural references inherent in her writing, and very upset by the implicatons. So i'm willing to consider the likelihood that no harm was intended here.

But shouldn't an editor at the HS have caught this? Isn't good editing (and fact checking, can't forget fact-checking!) supposed to be the difference between old and new media, between profesional and citizen journalism?

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  • at least the editor changing it from " a lotta 'splainin' "

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:35 AM  

  • I appreciate anonymous's comment on the edit. Until then, I thought the the "whole lot of explaining" was the original, and wondered what the hell Barry was ranting about. Now I understand.

    FWIW, the Herald-Sun seems slack about monitoring its gender-biased language (and perhaps its race-biased language, as well).

    In recent months I've written to ask "hey, what the heck" on one count of "co-eds" and another count of "Durham Housing Authority's Number Two Man." The first email got a response from both the writer (who blamed his editor for writing the headline) and the editor-in-chief who apologized, noting that "indeed, 'co-ed' is on our list of 'don't use this' words." As for the DHA article, I asked the writer (same guy as the co-ed article, whom others in the blogosphere have praised for other articles), "If the DHA chief were a woman, would the person you were writing about be referred to as "The number ONE man"? No response to that one.

    I'm perfectly happy to use gender-biased humor where it's done with respect. But I do hate hate hate seeing it used inadvertently/irresponsibly in ways that perpetuate stereotype or otherwise de-value a person or work.

    By Blogger Phil, at 2:48 PM  

  • Barry, you are right on target! I read that first sentence and knew exactly what the reference was. Sloppy writing and editing, bordering on racist. Welcome to Durham, Chief Lopez.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:37 AM  

  • 7/15/09: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Bumblefuck) to Judge Sotomayor at today's confirmation hearing:

    You'll have lots of 'splainin' to do...


    By Blogger toastie, at 5:30 PM  

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