I meant to post this at the time of the Sun’s much-trumpeted “switch” to the Tories during the Conservative Party conference, but it has taken me until now to track it down on YouTube. A classic scene from Yes Minister, and more or less as true today as it was then:
The story in Media Guardian here about how a film company successfully hoaxed the tabloids into running fake celebrity “news” – Amy Winehouse’s beehive goes up in flames, Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding is a secret boffin who enjoys curling up with a good book on quantum physics of an evening, etc – has something of a “so what else is new?” tiredness about it.
One hopes the Telegraph’s elderly readership were duly grateful that the paper’s Style Guide (© style guru Simon Huffer) deftly avoided unwanted apoplectic attacks, coronaries or indeed twinges of gout by taking no asterisks…
At least some papers don’t go all coy on us:
Apostro-führer Lynne Truss reacts to The Times’ klassik kaption kok-up.
Reference books? Pah! Who needs ’em! Everything’s on the net these days, isn’t it?
Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. True, there’s an awful of there there. Trouble is, when it comes to spelling, synonyms, antonyms and other word usage – the basic tools of our trade – a lot of it is contradictory. For everyone online who reckons it’s OK to split an infinitive, you’ll find someone who is vehemently against such barbarism. In London, is it Regent’s Park or Regents Park? Is it installment or instalment? Before you know it you’re suffering from googlexia, a condition of paralysing bafflement that’s the cerebral equivalent of the spinning eggtimer or beachball your computer shows when it’s offered the choice of a spade and a rake and told to take its pick. Read more…