Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reversionary Narrative in Quotation Marks

I am sure that you like me sees too many quotation marks around words in news stories as if somehow the action or item didn't really exist or, at the least, you needn't believe it happened or was.

I spotted a new one in a NYTimes story on ‘The Complete Works of Primo Levi’ by Edward Sonnov:

Primo Levi studied chemistry at Turin and worked as a chemist until, at 24, he joined the Italian “partisans” resisting the Nazi occupation of northern Italy in 1943.

Thank God they didn't include resisting in those quotation marks.



At the urging of JS, I sent a letter to the Public Editor of the NYT:

​Why was partisans​ placed in quotation marks?
Is the NYT suggesting that partisans did not exist?  Or that Italian partisans did not exist? Or that they should have been termed "anti-Nazi militants"?
I see that in the style guide the use of quotation marks can me someone does not fully agree with the use of such a word encased in quotation marks.  Who doesn't agree with the use of partisans to describe ... partisans?

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