the imparseable dream

Barbara Need bhneed at GMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 27 15:13:17 UTC 2009

The additional hyphen is how I read this.

Barbara Need

On 27 Apr 2009, at 9:57 AM, Mark Mandel wrote:

> ... or at least the imparseable headline. What do you make of this
> one?
>    "Advocate happy credit-card companies called on the White House
> carpet"
> I banged that around in my head for something like half a minute
> before
> giving up and looking at the article. Is "advocate" a noun or a
> verb? Are
> the credit-card companies happy? Are we to advocate that they be
> called on
> the W.H. carpet?
> The best I could come up with was inserting another hyphen:
> "Advocate-happy
> credit-card companies called on the White House carpet", i.e.,
> "President
> scolds redit-card companies that make excessive use of advocates",
> where
> "advocates" refers to ... lobbyists? fake "satisfied customers" who
> are paid
> for endorsements, or who are not customers at all but actors?
> something else
> entirely?
> But no. It's a combination of standard headlinese shortcuts, deleting
> copula, complementizer, auxiliaries, and of course determiner (but
> not in
> the idiom "call __ on *the* carpet"): AN advocate IS happy THAT
> credit-card
> companies HAVE BEEN called on the White House carpet. The advocate
> referred
> to is a consumer advocate.
> Kathleen Keest cheered quietly last week as an issue she has toiled
> on for
> decades - unfair practices by the credit-card industry - finally
> made it to
> center stage in the grand theater of U.S. politics.
> President Obama had invited card-company executives to the White
> House to
> discuss legislation he supports that would crack down on practices
> such as
> tricky fine print and sudden, retroactive changes in interest rates.
> "The days of any-time, any-reason rate hikes and late-fee traps have
> to
> end," Obama said after meeting with the executives, whose companies
> include
> banks such as Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase that have received
> billions of
> dollars in federal bailout funds.

The American Dialect Society -

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