Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /home/scouser/echoesandmirrors.com/wp-content/plugins/statpress/statpress.php on line 1191

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /home/scouser/echoesandmirrors.com/wp-content/plugins/statpress/statpress.php on line 1191

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /home/scouser/echoesandmirrors.com/wp-content/plugins/statpress/statpress.php on line 1194

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /home/scouser/echoesandmirrors.com/wp-content/plugins/statpress/statpress.php on line 1194

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /home/scouser/echoesandmirrors.com/wp-content/plugins/statpress/statpress.php on line 1197

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /home/scouser/echoesandmirrors.com/wp-content/plugins/statpress/statpress.php on line 1197
Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » Two Birds With One Stone

Two Birds With One Stone

Language Log has a post that made me smile for two completely separate reasons. They don’t link to the article (presumably because it was quoted from a printed newspaper, of all things) so I’ll quote a bit:

Quotation marks (typically the single ones ‘ ’) that are used to mark the use of a word as not necessarily one that the present writer would endorse (The so-called ‘universal grammar ’ that linguists talk about) are standardly known as scare quotes. Those used (illiterately, it is often thought) simply to emphasize or call attention to a word (‘FRESH’ TOMATOES!) are sometimes, less standardly, called greengrocer’s quotes. I think we need a third and separate name for the increasingly common journalistic use seen in this national science news story taken from a British newspaper today[…]

And the article he quotes:

Hormone ‘makes women unfaithful’
WOMEN with high levels of one sex hormone are more likely to have affairs — and are considered more attractive by themselves and others. Those with the most oestradiol, a form of oestrogen, are less satisfied with their lovers and more likely to have a roving eye, a study suggests today. ‘Attractive women may not only have more alternatives but also high standards that are difficult to satisfy,’ said US psychologist Dr Katrina Durante, whose study is published by the Royal Society. ‘They may have fewer reasons to be committed to any partner if higher-quality potential mates are available.’

And, finally, the point:

The inaccuracy of the headline is indeed glaring. The story actually presents two strikingly and somewhat bafflingly different lines of content. First, the newspaper reports that oestradiol levels correlate with (a) higher infidelity, (b) stronger self-perception of being pretty, (c) greater other-perceived attractiveness, and (d) lower satisfaction with partners. Second, Dr Durante is quoted as making certain (seemingly unrelated) claims about women who are pretty: that they have (a) more options, (b) high standards, and (c) less reason to stick with a dweeb when hunks are accessible. The things Dr Durante is quoted as saying are plausible enough, but none of them relate to hormones at all. And nothing in the whole story mentions hormonal causation of any behavior.

I abhore scare-quotes, in preference of direct quoting or simply highlighting a word for emphasis, usually something of my own thoughts (being a fiction writer, this is easier for me to justify, honestly). The only use I can can justify (and not even reasonably so, as it is an unfounded opinion -bite me) is when used for sarcastic, ironic or otherwise amusing effect. (He put his ‘penis’ into her ‘vagina’. would be a good example of this.)

I also believe that the finicky, flakey behavior of hot women and that their self-perceived value relative to how they value their significant other affects their odds of infidelity. Now that some endocrinologist approves of my theory, it gives me even more reason to believe it. Biology has more explanations for things like this than most of us would like to believe. Sex is fun for a reason and who we have it with is based on perception.

The overall effect of the newspaper article is one of instilling fear in men. It’s almost a warning: stay away from the hot women; they’ll just break your heart. I find it amusing and pertinent to my real point: these quotes, these Mendacity Quotes, are in-fact Scare Quotes. If you worry about being able to keep a woman under control that is. (I am single, what do I know?)

Share
0 comments