Saturday, November 13, 2010

People Keep Doing It; I'm Going to Keep Complaining About It

Here's a news article, admittedly written by a student (a freshman, one hopes, given the lack of organization), that manages, once again to demonstrate two of my pet peeves.

First, the author seems genuinely confused about the rules of capitalization. Take, for example:
As Shayne drifted away from Christianity, she learned more about paganism when she was in college.

Shane says 'paganism' is the general term for a variety of different religions, just as there are many denominations of Christianity. Paganism predates many of the monotheistic religions, including Judaism and Christianity.

Yet, at other times, we get:
Many holidays were originally Pagan-based. Halloween is called Samhain by Pagans, which represents the end of the year and is the shortest day in the year, Shayne explains.

If you're going to capitalize "Christianity," which is the name of a group of religions, then you should capitalize "Paganism," which is also the name of a group of religions. Simple.

And, then, of course, there's this:
Shane Camp, the president of the Pagan Alliance Club. He created the club because he says paganism is given a bad rap.

"There is a misconception that Pagans are Satan worshipers," says Lawhorne. For instance, the five points on the star, in Hollywood, represent evil and the calling of evil spirits. But Shayne says according to Pagan traditions, it is the calling of the five elements that make up life: water, air, earth, spirit and fire. It is a nature-based symbol.

As I've written many times before, this practice Pagans have of shooting themselves in the foot has got to stop. Shane, tell the reporter that you created the club so that campus Pagans could get together and discuss their religion, could organize the blood drives on campus that the article finally discusses, and could volunteer at the animal center. And there is NO reason to discuss the "misperception that Pagans are Satan worshipers." When you negate a frame, you invoke it. Besides, the main source of quotes about Pagans and Satan these days seems to me to be coming from -- Pagans.

Just stop it.

Picture found here.


Makarios said...

Another thing that rots my socks is reporters who will cover a story about Pagans in some context or other and then proceed to throw in a few adverse quotations from the local Christian fundie wackjob as well, presumably for the sake of "balance." If they were interviewing a rabbi for a story about, say, Hanukkah, would they also interview a neo-Nazi for the sake of "balance?" No, they would not. But somehow, in the case of Pagans, they have to present "two sides" of their story, as if anything to do with Paganism is inherently controversial.

Marcellina said...

The back-and-forth with the capitalizations made me think rather that the "author" had done some cut-and-pasting, and didn't think to clean up the inconsistencies.
Which denotes an even bigger problem than confusion over capitalizing proper nouns.