Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Another list

Back when I was editor for a daily newspaper, my colleagues and I liked kept running lists to help take the edge off of the cynical world of “journalism”. Any time we saw/thought of a new item that fit the category, we would add it to our list.

This wasn’t a documented list, it was more of an oral tradition, handed down from one generation of suckers that go into journalism to the next.

One of these lists was a list of compound name descriptions. Journalists love to cut words by hyphenating and compounding adjectives and place them in front of a name.

For example, you might read about “ex-county commissioner and alleged nun killer Joe Smith.” The funny thing was that when one writer comes up with such a description, it is often used over and over again by other writers covering the same topic.

So we had a list of modifiers you never want to have in front of your name. I can’t recall all of it from memory, so I’ve started a new one. Please feel free to add you own.

  • alleged stalker of Madonna
  • bearded Montana recluse
  • spiderhole-dwelling former dictator
  • notorious Queens drug lord
  • celebutante hotel heiress
  • accused ex-Enron exec
  • Mafia turncoat and key government witness
  • militant anti-gay preacher

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