26
Jan
17

And the Academy Award for theatre goes to…

I found the following amusing:

Throughout her career, Moore also had a number of roles in film, including the serious role in Ordinary People, which won the Academy Award for best picture, and theater.

The main artlessness was placing “and theater” at the sentence’s end. It follows a long, complex parenthetical phrase, which leaves and theater completely divorced from its context. Thus one registers for a microsecond that Ordinary People won an AA for theatre, as well as best film. So you double-take — rereading the sentence and mentally pasting and theater where it belongs, next to roles in film.

The writer/editor had easy ways to solve that problem (e.g., “a number of roles in theater and film, including…”). But this was rushed to press at the moment of Mary Tyler Moore’s death, and most likely the long parenthetical phrase (“including…best picture”) was hastily added in. Such is the 24-hour news cycle.

The same sentence contains another glaring, risible flaw — “the serious role”. Moore’s wasn’t the only serious role in what was, of course, a very serious film. What the writer meant to say was “including the drama Ordinary People”.

And there’s more. Near the bottom, the article states, “She went onto add…” Of course, went on is the idiom and to add is the infinitive. So “onto” is wretchedly out of place.

The same Guardian article spelled “theatre” the American way, suggesting this may have been a  a U.S. wire service piece, or rewrite thereof. Or a mashup from various sources. Or, who knows, the U.S. spelling may reflect the Guardian’s self-image as a trans-Atlantic paper. An image it needs to burnish.

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