Thursday, July 21, 2005

Doohan's death unleashes the groaners

I'm not sure which was worse.

First, there was this AP lede:

James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original Star Trek TV series and movies who responded to the command "Beam me up, Scotty," died Wednesday. He was 85.
As noted in several places (here and here), of course, no one ever said "Beam me up, Scotty" on TV or in the "Star Trek" movies. (In the fourth movie, William Shatner, playing Captain Kirk, finally said, "Scotty, beam me up.")

As one poster on Testy Copy Editors noted: "The AP lede suffers from the additional annoyance of referring to him as his fictional character, rather than as the actor who played the role."

Then AP follows it with this (from Yahoo News this morning):

Doohan to Be Sent to His Final Frontier

He made his name in Hollywood beaming his colleagues back to the safety of the Enterprise on "Star Trek." Now, actor James Doohan's family is hoping to beam him up to the "final frontier" that Doohan's character "Scotty" loved so dearly.

So let's see:
- We have a blind first sentence when it easily could have started out with "Actor James Doohan made ..."
- It pulls out the trite phrase beam ... up
- It tries to force the issue with "final frontier" (leading most likely to that gawdawful hed)
- It uses the progressive (is hoping) when the simple hopes would be cleaner.

Sigh.

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