Bad Writing. (Or: The Award For Most Confusing Sentinel Story of The Day Goes To...)
If you are reading this on a mobile device, please take a moment to visit a restroom. Once there, disrobe. Turn on all available lights -- for this exercise to work, you will have to see very clearly. Now: Look in the mirror. Examine your various bits.
Which of your body parts most resembles a reindeer?
If you answered "none," don't worry -- you're probably normal. If one of your bits does resemble a reindeer, you should keep that information to yourself. This is the difficult lesson learned by an unnamed teacher, way the hell northwards in Volusia County, who, according to The Sun Sentinel, is in trouble for telling a 16-year-old pupil that her drawing of a reindeer resembled part of his anatomy.
Which part? The Sun Sentinel doesn't say.
I quote the Sentinel article in its entirety below:
A teacher in Volusia County who has been accused in the past of inappropriate behavior is under investigation again, according to WFTV.com.
The teacher at University High School, whose name was not released by WFTV.com because he has not been disciplined, is accused of telling a 16-year-old girl that a drawing of a reindeer looked like part of his body.
To read the story, click here.
Go ahead -- click there. But before you do, note the byline and provenance of the blurb you have just read: This was "compiled" by The Orlando Sentinel, and you found it in the "News" section.
Armed with nothing but common sense and these scant facts, we may extrapolate a few rules of thumb which may be profitably adhered to by the Sentinel and her fellow mid-tier papers:
1. Don't publish news reports from Volusia. (Where the hell's that again?)
2. If you do, make sure they're important. (A college kid from Volusia died of hypothermia this weekend. Isn't that a bit more meaningful?)
3. Concerned though you may be for your readers' delicate sensibilities, it helps no one if you refuse to call a reindeer dick a reindeer dick. And if the word "dick" offends, there is no shortage of less profane words for the body part under discussion. "Penis" is a choice both popular and effective, but there are others, too -- "phallus" is nearly as popular as "penis," and much more colorful. "Dork" has a certain ring to it, as well.
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