The American Scholar: Celebrity Profiles

Phllip Lopate writes a good essay on the challenges of writing a celebrity profile. My take: Just as Plato argued that ideal leaders would be so well-balanced that they would not desire to lead (and thus would not have the power-lust that would enable them to rise above their competitors), it follows that ideal celebrity profile writers would be so well-balanced a journalist that they would not desire to flatter celebrities enough to be…

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Is the United Airlines man being smeared in the media even the right David Dao? It shouldn’t matter

“Doctor dragged off United flight was felon who traded prescription drugs for secret gay sex with patient half his age and took them himself – and he needed anger management, was ‘not forthright’ and had control issues, psychiatrist found,” wrote The Daily Mail this week of Dr David Dao, in probably the longest headline ever written. … Questions have inevitably started to be asked: who dug up those details about David…

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Making a case for a singular ‘they’

  I am definitely on team revise-to-avoid-using-“they”-as-a-singular-pronoun, but the 2017 edition of the AP Stylebook (the industry standard writing guide for journalists) acknowledges the limited use of “they” as a singular pronoun. As always, the goal is clarity, not rigid adherence to a rule. They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and-or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is…