Tuesday, December 18, 2007

If You Allude to a Book, Read it First

Tossing references to literature, history or pop culture into a news story is dangerous and unnecessary. For one thing, it’s the writer’s opinion that a connection exists between the news and some book she read or song she heard. In many cases, there’s no connection at all and the reference makes the writer look foolish, or worse, ignorant.

Alas, such is the case today in a little local story about a grief support group. The DeSoto Editor writes a long, three-sentence lead that has nothing to do with the news. To make things worse, she mixes her metaphors. Somehow, "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" becomes something like a safety net.

In the end, Laura Schmid's Alice allusion ends up informing readers that it’s been a long, long time since she read Lewis Carroll’s "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland," and she couldn’t be bothered to pull the book off the shelf to check the facts before going to press.

ARCADIA – Sometimes you just need someone else to talk to who understands what you’re going through.

After the death of a loved one, having a safety net to catch you when you’re overwhelmed with grief and feeling like you’re falling down Alice in Wonderland’s proverbial dark hole can help you make it through another day.
“Proverbial” is an adjective and indicates the word following it appears in a proverb. "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" is a fantasy, not a proverb.

Alice doesn’t fall down “her” hole; it’s the White Rabbit’s hole. As she descends, it isn’t the least bit dark – she examines shelves on the walls that hold many curious items.

The reporter gets the title of the famous book wrong. Many people do, but that’s no excuse for someone whose job is accuracy.

In the end, the reporter leaves readers wondering what she’s talking about. Alice’s adventures on the other side of the rabbit hole are crazy delights and serendipitous encounters – situations completely unrelated to grief over the death of a loved one.

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