Editor at Large Policy Written English

Bonus Post for National Grammar Day: Censor This!

Grammar is important on certain levels, because proper word choice can help the world avoid misleading headlines like this one:

Mar 4, 2008, 12:24 GMT: Western nations drop plan for IAEA resolution censoring Iran

Whew! The Europeans certainly dodged a bullet with that one. Imagine if those enlightened secular governments had actually censored Ahmadinejad in the Western press? There would be no more rambunctious debates at NYU! No more SNL Digital Shorts with Jake Gyllenhaal cameos! And, most importantly, the IAEA representatives would be stifling open, democratic debate, one of the most ballyhooed elements of the international governance system.

Obviously, Western nations aren’t really that hypocritical. Or that stupid—censoring Iran would play right into the hands of a government which holds state-sponsored symposiums for Holocaust deniers just to highlight the European limits on freedom of speech.

I’m happy to digress into politics on this blog whenever I get the chance, so thank you today to Monsters and Critics for giving me a reason to explain this completely inexcusable typo. In the words of a blogger we linked to yesterday:

Attention, everyone: C E N S O R ≠ C E N S U R E

A censure is a formal rebuke, often carried out by an institution. A censor will redact portions of your text without mercy, often in service of an overt or covert political agenda. A censure is a public action; censorship is often done behind closed doors. Get the point?

Check out this BBC link for a more well-informed and well-written report of what really went down at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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