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Jacquielynn Floyd: ‘Drugs Are Not Cool’

The joke behind this picture will become clear if you read this post.

Please don’t read this post. I shouldn’t even be writing it. It’s nitpicky, and it’s about semantics and editing. No one cares. I’m embarrassed that I’ve given the matter this much thought.

But have they laid off all the editors at the Dallas Morning News? I ask because Jacquielynn Floyd’s column today reads like it went straight from her Commodore 64 to the printing press. In Leading Off this morning, I alluded to the odd subject matter, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s overdose. I don’t get why that’s the concern of a Metro columnist in Dallas. Maybe if she’d met the guy. Maybe if she herself battled heroin addiction. But Floyd’s only connection to the topic seems to be that she knows someone who posted an insensitive Hoffman comment on Facebook. Forget all that, though. Never mind that an editor should have asked Floyd what she planned to write and then gently suggested another topic. “What? You’re going to use Hoffman’s overdose as a launching point to say drugs aren’t cool? Seriously? Is your next column going to say that sharing is good?”

No, let’s skip all that and just focus on the execution. Here are the first two sentences of Floyd’s column:

Should we blame Philip Seymour Hoffman for his own death? It’s not a rhetorical question, but a literal one.

It’s a literal question? As opposed to a metaphorical question? “It’s not a rhetorical question.” Period. That’s all you need to say, and I’ll understand: it’s a question.

Next offender:

For people who care about quality in the movies they see, [Hoffman’s] passing is a tangible loss.

A “tangible loss” is a brain teaser that generates a 404 error in my head. How can you touch something that is gone? Small matter. I also wonder about the people who care about quality in the movies they don’t see. Because those people care about too much stuff that doesn’t affect them. Next up:

For a lot of people, [addiction] is a grueling, sometimes humiliating uphill struggle that has to be renewed every single day.

Many doctors view it as a chronic disease that requires lifelong management — a Herculean task at which many sufferers will inevitably fail.

This is the one that really got me. You don’t need a classical education to know that the first sentence — an uphill struggle that must be repeated — makes allusion to Sisyphus. So why, then, in the very next sentence, would Floyd say that fighting addiction is a Herculean task? The story of Sisyphus comes to us from Greek mythology. Hercules, as everyone knows, is Kevin Sorbo.

I respectfully and literally request that someone at the paper read the words before they are printed. Please. I know it is a Sisyphean task. Every day, more words come. But if you don’t read them before they are published, I will be forced to cancel my subscription. And then you won’t be able to touch me.

  • TheSlowPath

    A Herculean task would be a very difficult task that one ultimately succeeds at through a combination of strength, perseverance, cleverness, and the favor of (at least some of) the gods.

  • The Grammar Belle

    I completely agree! (Even though I disagree with you on the usage of that d*** AP Stylebook.)

  • Dubious Brother

    Metaphorically, the legalize marijuana movement has lost what could have been a great spokesperson.
    Rhetorically, his “partner” lost a great partner.
    Literally, three children lost their father.
    The two drug dealers face a Herculean task to avoid the NYC cops.

  • RAB

    I had more problems regarding her “grueling struggle” sentence (“For a lot of people, [addiction] is a grueling, sometimes humiliating uphill struggle that has to be renewed every single day.”). It’s not the addiction that’s the struggle; it’s the not giving into the addiction that’s the struggle. (Okay, okay, so that’s what she meant. Even so, where was the editor?)

    Also, the lead-in to the sentence: “For a lot of people . . .” Apparently, for some people it’s no struggle at all. Or it’s a struggle, but it’s not grueling — and occasionally not even humiliating.

    I’m with Tim: this is godawful dreck.

  • Bill Marvel

    What’s the matter, Tim? Are they not giving you enough stuff to edit there at D?

  • Tim Rogers

    Bill, you can troll so much better than this.

  • JFPO

    Have you just now noticed Jackie is a poor writer with a firm grasp of the obvious?

  • Harley Crimson

    A mini version of Perez Hilton calling out Graydon Carter. Cute. Now get back to reviewing reality shows that are changing the world one word nerd at a time.

  • Katherine Graham

    Hush, Timmy! The alternative is another Steve Blow column about Steve Blow. Steve Blow!