Friday, December 01, 2017

Use of Quotations Marks

Dov Lieber tweeted this news alert on the group of 13 year old Jewish children, actually, some, siblings, much younger, accompanied by two adults who were attacked by scores of Arabs while hiking:

Queried why he employed quotation marks, he replied

At the time it wasn't clear who was there. Army said hikers. Simple.

I'm confused and even dumbfounded.

Of all the words, he chose to bracket in scare quotes, why hikers?

He could have selected shot, or throwing rocks, responded or even dead.

Scare quotes, as The Atlantic clarified for those who didn't know, are used

to make clear that [the word bracketed] is not just a term of discussion, but a term of contention: Do not, the floating commas make clear, take this at face value...framed facts themselves as matters of debate, to do a lot of heavy lifting—not just as indications of words that are spoken, but as indications of words that are doubted. 

And the article continues so

Scare quotes (also known, even more colorfully, as “shudder quotes” and “sneer quotes”) precisely the opposite of what quotation marks are supposed to do: They signal irony, and uncertainty. They suggest words that don’t quite mean what they claim to. “Question,” they say. “Doubt,” they dare... “a writer’s assault on his or her own words.” They signal—really, they celebrate—epistemic uncertainty. They take common ground and suggest that it might, but only just “might,” be made of quicksand.

Maybe some day, all "journalists" will have their names bracketed in scare quotes?



rlandes said...

certainly some "journalists" like this one. what? is a Ha-aretz/Ma'an wannabe?

Ruth Jaffe Lieberman said...

Very "informative". But seriously, this event has become an unreal representation of the power of the media - to either ignore and thus render the "incident" a non-starter, or to so totally misrepresent the facts by switching the terrorists with the terrorees... Thank you for underlining this horrendous act of hateful terror against Jewish children out for a walk.