FROM THE SEATTLE TIMES (August 6, 2013, page A4): “Taliban secretly talking to Kabul government.” That’s present tense “talking,” meaning it’s supposedly happening now! Is this, like, an example of some form of Associated Press, in-house irony? I mean, if it’s in every newspaper in the world that has an AP line, then it ain’t all that “secret,” is it?
I know! It’s not irony at all—because there is no media in Afghanistan, this IS a secret to the Afghanis, kept from them.
Or, perhaps, it’s really AP’s idea of more in-house cognitive dissonance . . .
Maybe it was supposed to be past tense?
POSTSCRIPT/The actual AP piece dated August 5, 2013, reads: “The Taliban have held secret talks with representatives of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to try to jumpstart a peace process that stumbled and stalled at the starting gate, according to Afghan officials and a senior Taliban representative.
The discussions with members of the Afghan High Peace Council have so far been unofficial and preliminary, seen as an attempt to agree on conditions for formal talks. But they do suggest an interest on both sides in proceeding, or at least toying, with a peace process that has been mired in controversy since the official opening of a Taliban political office in June in the Gulf nation of Qatar. “
William Strunk Jr’s original edition of The Elements Of Style (1919) was all of fifty-three pages long. In 1959, it was revised and expanded by one of his students, the famous children’s book author E.B. White. It is one of the best selling and most influential grammar and punctuation books ever published. I have used the authors’ names for one of the categories of this site: Strunkandwhiten It! For more information, refer to “On William Strunk and Elements of Style.”