Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Multiple noir shots plus something that drives me nuts

I hate when reporters write that someone was shot "multiple" times. What does "multiple" times mean? Does it confer what the writers imagine is cachet that many does not? Does multiple even mean many, or does it simply mean more than once?

"Multiple times" is an ideal official expression. It's imprecise, it has lots of syllables, and it sounds vaguely impressive. Is that why impressionable reporters, easily seduced into taking on the jargon of the beats they cover, persist in using it? I've asked myself that question multiple times.


Meanwhile, here are four some a few a collection of more than one multiple recent noir shots by your humble blogkeeper. Interest from publishers welcome.

© Peter Rozovsky 2015

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13 Comments:

Blogger seana graham said...

I understand your annoyance, but I guess I just take as shorthand for "more than several times but as yet we really don't know exactly how many yet." If they do know how many times, they should just say the number.

I particularly like that first photo.

March 04, 2015  
OpenID melhealy said...

At least it's not as bad as people saying or even writing "a myriad of".

Myriad is a synonym of "many" or "multiple", so "a myriad of" translates as "a many of".

I think somewhere along the line "myriad" got confused with "plethora".

March 04, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, thanks for the kind words on the photo. I find it harder to accept the argument for "multiple" than I do your compliment, though. I take "shot multiple times" for "that's what the cop said when he read it to me from the police report." Where does "several" stop and "multiple" begin?

Especially galling is the "shot multiple times in the arm, chest, and leg" construction. If the victim was shot in three places, we know he was shot more than once, the single-bullet theory aside. "Multiple" is even more unnecessary than usual in this case.

March 04, 2015  
Blogger seana graham said...

I don't know where several stops and multiple begins, but I do know that they conjure up different images as to the intensity of the shooting.As I said before, though, I do think if it's known how many times the person was actually shot, they should just report the number.

March 04, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mel: So many (apparently) poorly read and impressionable reporters ay my newspapers had been writing "a myriad of" that the editor in charge of such matters had to sent out a note reminding the staff of the word's correct usage. Why "myriad" should find a place in straight news stories more than once every 10,000 or so years is another matter.

I suspect you're right about confusion of "plethora" and "myriad," but "plethora" in a news story suggest to me a reporter reaching for poetic effect and falling way, way short.

March 04, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I can well understand that the reporter and even the police officer might not know how many times the victim was shot (and I hope that no reporter ever used "multiple" in a story without fist having asked "how many?")

March 04, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I should look for and show you examples of "multiple" that I come across at work to demonstrate that the word is virtually always unnecessary as reporters use it. I shall try to remember to do so later this week.

March 04, 2015  
Blogger RTD said...

The effective and disciplined use of language is in decline. Oh, if only people would return to Strunk and White, and then consult Orwell's Politics of the English Language.

And if I hear the word "like" in spoken English one more time -- although I think I hear it multiple dozens of times an hour on campus -- I think I will become homicidal, filling someone with multiple gunshots. Like, yeah!

March 05, 2015  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

I love photos that engage. These give rise to a bit of delicious anxiety. If I were on these streets I would be looking behind me and listening for footsteps.

I hope some publisher is looking and they choose one for a cover and sell multiple copies of the book.

March 05, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

RTD, you're a grumpy old man and a stick-in-the-mud. You're also entirely right.

I have come to realize in recent years that my job gives me extra insight into how American English usage is changing. Not all the changes are for the better.

March 05, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mary Beth: Many thanks. And I like "delicious anxiety." I may borrow it as a selling point for these shots.

March 05, 2015  
Blogger RTD said...

Thank you, Peter, for the kind words.

March 05, 2015  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Are you selling any of your Philly photos? We are moving into a new house (mid-century modern) and looking for a few shots of Philly that would play to that period. I love your work. How big can you blow them up and still retain the quality. (aa2579@wayne.edu)

April 03, 2015  

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