Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Look Familiar...

 Woman Who Looks Like Casey Anthony, Sammy Blackwell, Attacked By Driver In Oklahoma
A woman outraged over the Casey Anthony verdict was arrested in Oklahoma for allegedly attacking a convenience store clerk who resembles the Florida mom acquitted of murdering her daughter. 
After leaving work in Chouteau on Friday, Sammay Blackwell said a customer who had told her that "you look like Casey Anthony" followed her for several miles and then crashed her car into Blackwell's, causing her to flip several times...
Sure it sounds insane, but I must confess that there is a clerk in my local liquor store who bears an uncanny resemblance to insufferable Euro-twit Piers Morgan, and I consequently find myself suppressing the urge to slap his smug puss as he bags my moderately-priced Shiraz. So I can relate.

The nit I'm picking with this AOL-HuffPo story (we'll just overlook the "Sammy/Sammay" inconsistency) is an oldie, and it comes in the final sentence:
In an ironic twist, Blackwell has a daughter named Caylee too, Channel 9 said.
Its claim to the contrary notwithstanding, that sentence suffers from an irony deficiency. As some tedious scolds never get tired of pointing out, irony and coincidence are not the same thing. The fact that the Casey Anthony doppelganger has a daughter named Caylee is a coincidence--and an astonishing one at that. It may even be a good enough reason to attempt to kill her. But it is not ironic.

On to the the fresh-from-the-mailbox Maclean's for another example of usage and abusage from the collection of greatest hits. In a capsule review of the Swedish thriller novel, The Hypnotist, comes this scene-setter:
Shortly before Christmas, almost an entire family is slaughtered in a Stockholm suburb, two parents and a two-year-old girl literally sliced to ribbons.
Charming. But, as some tedious scolds never get tired of pointing out, literally means literally, not "I-really-want-to-emphasize-or-hyperbolize-this."  It's unlikely the murderer actually filleted the family into sushi with such painstaking precision, especially since the following sentence tells us that another family member, a son, "though cut by as many knife wounds as the others, is still alive." Or perhaps Swedish surgeons are impressively adept at reconstituting ribbons into whole people.