Monday, March 15, 2010

Queer Notes From all Over (Underwear Occasions Bad Writing Division)

SYDNEY, Australia, March 5 - Reuters Life!, evidently a life-style offshoot of the Reuters news wire service, reports that underwear in a new, "eco-friendly" AussieBum line are composed of twenty-seven percent banana fiber, sixty-four percent cotton and nine percent lycra.   The two-graf Reuters Life! report, though alluring, is hazy. It notes that the banana fiber, made from bark weave found in banana plants, "makes the underwear not only lightweight, but also very absorbent...." This sounds promising, but what there is for the underwear to absorb Reuters Life! does not say.
   Lloyd Jones, an AussieBum functionary, noted that if the undies were to contain any more than twenty-percent of the banana fiber, "it might get a bit squishy." Mmmmm. 
   Jones added, according to Reuters Life!, that "wearers did not have to worry about real monkeys, because the underwear does not smell like a banana." 
image   What it does smell like Jones did not say, perhaps because, in a monumental journalistic oversight, the Reuters Life! reporter, a woman by the name of Amy Pyett, failed to ask him. Or perhaps she did and her editor, a woman named Miral Fahmy, simply cut the information. Alas, we shall never know. 
   We also cannot know whether it was Ms. Fahmy or a nameless copy-editor who wrote the hed (headline),  but whoever it was should be disciplined severely. It read: "Aussie Underwear Has Gone Bananas."
   And Ms. Fahmy really shouldn't have let Ms. Pyett get away with this lede (first paragraph): "Australian underwear company AussieBum has been monkeying around and the result is a range of men's underwear made with bananas." 
   Not only is that factually wrong - the ingredient is banana bark weave, not bananas - but it is exemplary of the kind of writing that is driving readers away  from newspapers and leading, you see, to the collapse of the Fourth Estate. 
   Here, for curious readers, are some examples of AussieBum underwear. I don't know whether or not they're the banana-bark-weave ones, but who cares? The pictures are lovely. 

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