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Friday, June 16, 2006

How Many Emperors Do We Need? 

I don't care for these formations in "-Czar", such as "Drug Czar", when they mean "administrator", "chief officer", or "commissioner". To be a tsar you need to have absolute power over all Russia. Anything less and you're just another pretty kniaz'.

The headline at CNN.com says: Hillary Clinton wants White House 'privacy czar', but if you read the story she doesn't seem to have said that. The words appear in quotation marks in a paragraph which is not a direct quotation of Clinton.

Clinton wants to create a "privacy czar" within the White House to guard against recent problems like the theft of personal data from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

I think those quotation marks are the sort used to buffer slang terms or jargon. Canada, of course, has a thingthatwejournalistscall a"pivacy czar" or, to be all pedantic, a "federal privacy commissioner". I'm now so confused that I address my supervisor as "Your Grace", and everyone else as "Sirrah" or "thou naughty knave", depending.

Of course this may be no mere attribution, and Clinton may well have called for a czar in so many words. She may have said, "We need a czar!" But they do say this in the article: "A potential presidential candidate in 2008 whose eight years as first lady were marked by numerous investigations,..." that should be "bogus investigations", unless I am abused.


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