Blind council

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Crash blossom of the week: "Don't help old, blind council tells parking officers", The Age 2/1/2012.

Screen shot:

[Hat tip to Eric TF Bat, Freelance Antipodean Crash Blossom Correspondent]


  1. Boris said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    Just goes to show that the headline comma works best at the end of the headline, not the beginning. Also, too verbose. How about "Council to parking officers: don't help old, blind"?

  2. Steve Hall said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

    I'm not so sure that's really a crash blossom: Perhaps the headline writer was actually taking a dig at the council? *grin*

  3. Dw said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

    This isn't even a crash blossom imo: it's just an error. The intended interpretation requires punctuation between "blind" and "council".

  4. FS said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

    How would you describe the difference between "tells" and "says" in this context? You can say "Don't help council, says parking officers" but "Don't help council, tells parking officers" is ungrammatical.

  5. Frank said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

    @FS: The difference is that in this particular context, "tell" requires an indirect object, which isn't the case with "say." The problem is that in your second example, it isn't stated who the information is being told TO, which makes it ungrammatical.

  6. John Lawler said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    @FS: Both tell and say are transitive, require agent subjects, and can have an utterance as direct objects.

    But tell is bitransitive, so a human noun following a transposed direct object utterance and tell is interpretable as an indirect object (the person who is being told the utterance), while a human noun following a transposed direct object utterance and say is interpretable as an agent subject (the person who is saying the utterance).

  7. Frank said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    Isn't it also accepted practice to place quotation marks around stuff like "Don't help old, blind" in that headline? That'd clear it up pretty handily as well.

    Either way, that blind council seems to have a lot of sway in this town.

  8. maidhc said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

    It seems to me that just putting a comma after "blind" would make it a lot clearer.

  9. Ø said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

    There's some good punctuation in the photo caption, too: "… have been banned from helping elderly, mobility or vision-impaired people with non-parking matters …"

  10. The Ridger said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

    You really couldn't p*/unctuate the caption any differently. Here you need to rework the sentence more substantially to avoid the "people with" reading.

  11. Jason said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

    It's not a crash blossom, just an error. The headline in the window's title bar, if you notice it, is:
    "Don't help old, blind, City of Melbourne tells parking officers".

    In pasting "Council" over "City of Melbourne", a comma got smushed. In fact, if you really want to be bored I even think know the exact keystroke sequence. The sub placed the cursor at the end of the phrase "City of Melbourne", hit Ctrl-Shift- to go back, typed "council", and moved onto the next headline without noticing the problem. I'd write it up in the "Annuls of forensic typo-ology", but I think they might regard it as too trivial.

  12. dw said,

    February 2, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

    Drop dead Ford tells city

  13. Mar Rojo said,

    February 3, 2012 @ 4:46 am

    I also feel it's a dig at the council.

  14. Agustin said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 1:28 am

    Really? The officers are just supposed to stand there and watch blind people try to park their cars?


  15. Nelida said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    Hah! A case of discrimination! The blind council is against old people! (LOL). Makes you wonder, doesn't it: why would they have elected a blind council in the first place? (LOL x 2). I don't think it was a dig against the council, but it certainly turned out to look like it actually was!

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