Wednesday, October 02, 2013

don't overuse [sic]

Here's an extract from an article about controversial "male feminist" Hugo Schwyzer (about whom I know nothing). The article quotes one of Schwyzer's tweets from during an infamous online meltdown. Note the "[sic]" at the end.

The 100-odd Twitter rant included such gems as: “I f****ed porn stars I met through my class”, “I cheated on my wife and pretended to be reformed”, and “I wrote an article in the Atlantic condemning age-disparate relationships the same week that I was sleeping with a 32-year-old. And sexting a 27-year-old”. And one more: “You can denounce me now, I’m out of feminism, not because I don’t believe in it, but because I’m such a p***poor [sic] example of it.”

Why was the "[sic]" there? Sic is Latin for "yes" or "It is so." In modern English, as an editorial comment, we place a "[sic]" after a locution we believe to be mistaken as a way of distancing ourselves from the author we're quoting. Sic is a way of saying, "Yeah... he really said that," or "Yup; he really spelled it that way. Not my fault; I'm just quoting."

I see nothing wrong with what Schwyzer wrote. The number of asterisks corresponds to the number of missing letters* ("-iss," in this case); even during his meltdown, the man was attempting to shield the reader from uncouth language. If anything is the matter, it's that there should have been a hyphen: the original, correct phrasal adjective is "piss-poor," so perhaps Schwyzer should have written "p***-poor." But was the absence of the hyphen enough justification for the "[sic]"? I wonder. If the person who wrote "[sic]" was, in fact, focused on the hyphen, then this was some super-sharp editing (which nevertheless failed to catch Schwyzer's comma splice in that same sentence). But if the "[sic]" was placed there for some other reason, that would amount to poor editing.

*The same can't be said for Schwyzer's "f****ed."



Charles said...

Possibilities for "I f****ed porn stars" (in alphabetical order):

"I faulted porn stars"
"I favored porn stars"
"I ferried porn stars"
"I fiddled porn stars"
"I fielded porn stars"
"I filched porn stars"
"I flailed porn stars"
"I fleeced porn stars"
"I fleshed porn stars"
"I flossed porn stars"
"I flouted porn stars"
"I fondled porn stars"
"I freaked porn stars"
"I frisked porn stars"
"I fronted porn stars"
"I fuddled porn stars"

Kevin Kim said...

Now we need to add Lewis Carroll-style nonsense words to that list!

I f****ed porn stars.

I fungled porn stars.
I futched porn stars.
I fooshed porn stars.
I fuckled porn stars.
I fibbled porn stars.
I feeshed porn stars.
I foboved porn stars.
I flicted porn stars.
I flerped porn stars.
I fuxored porn stars.


Charles said...

I must admit that your list was far funnier than mine.