Testy Copy Editors

Our new website is up and running at testycopyeditors.org. This board will be maintained as an archive. Please visit the new site and register. Direct questions to the proprietor, blanp@testycopyeditors.org
It is currently Sat Jul 11, 2020 2:49 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 25 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:03 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 8342
Location: Bethesda, Md.
In the 1990s the Saddam Hussein regime drained the marshes of southern Iraq, displacing 500,000 people, half of whom fled to Iran, and killing some 40,000. In addition to destroying the five-thousand-year-old Marsh Arab civilization, draining the marshes did vast ecological damage to one of the most important wetlands systems on the planet. Genocide is only part of Saddam Hussein's murderous legacy. Tens of thousands perished in purges from 1979 on, and as many as 300,000 Shiites were killed in the six months following the collapse of the March 1991 Shiite uprising. One mass grave near Hilla may contain as many as 30,000 bodies. (New York Review of Books)<p>***That's a lot of numbers, but no indication of where they come from. One might think it would be impossible to come up with reliable figures. It brings to mind the wildly divergent estimates of how many people died in Cambodia under Pol Pot. It's not useful to throw around unverifiable numbers. Better to say "untold numbers" or some such.***<p>[ April 26, 2004: Message edited by: blanp ]</p>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:55 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 3557
Location: Cusp of retirement, grave or both
Numbers like this always bug me, too. If crowd estimates vary so greatly for events like Woodstock or even the Troy flag day parade, how can you even remotely trust figures like these concerning genocide or disappearances?


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 887
Location: U.S.A.
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
It's not useful to throw around unverifiable numbers. Better to say "untold numbers" or some such.***<hr></blockquote><p>"Untold numbers" is a bit too vague. I've heard between 1 million and 2 million died under Pol Pot. That's a big range, but it's better to say that than "untold numbers," which could mean several thousand.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:45 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2003 1:01 am
Posts: 1324
Location: N 36° 57' 9", W 121° 24' 2"
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Gary Kirchherr:
"Untold numbers" is a bit too vague. I've heard between 1 million and 2 million died under Pol Pot. That's a big range, but it's better to say that than "untold numbers," which could mean several thousand.<hr></blockquote>It's in the ear. "Untold numbers" says, to me, "We don't know how many," whereas others might hear "a boatload." I'd rather have a figure, even if it's "between 1 and 250,000." (Well, maybe not...) <p>A few years ago, I had a sports intern who was fond of using "countless," as in "the team committed countless turnovers." I pointed out to him that all that meant was that he didn't count them. But he kept writing it, and I kept changing it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 8342
Location: Bethesda, Md.
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Gary Kirchherr:
<p>"Untold numbers" is a bit too vague. I've heard between 1 million and 2 million died under Pol Pot. That's a big range, but it's better to say that than "untold numbers," which could mean several thousand.<hr></blockquote><p>You're right, of course, about "untold numbers." My point is that we should say that we don't know.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 4:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 1286
Location: Saranac Lake, N.Y.
An American soldier was killed Tuesday in Baghdad, raising the U.S. death toll for April to 115 -- the same number lost during the invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein last year. Up to 1,200 Iraqis also have been killed this month. (NYT)<p>*For a change, we get the Iraqi death toll as well. Has anybody added up the dead for the whole war? I know the military and the politicans don't think the dead of the people we are liberating are worth counting, but perhaps someone else does.*


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2003 1:01 am
Posts: 145
Location: Over by there
There is a site called iraqbodycount.org that estimates a minimum of 8,900 to maximum 10,700 Iraqi civilians killed. It's run by some academics, though I don't know how reliable their methods are. <p> <blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by ADKbrown:
An American soldier was killed Tuesday in Baghdad, raising the U.S. death toll for April to 115 -- the same number lost during the invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein last year. Up to 1,200 Iraqis also have been killed this month. (NYT)<p>*For a change, we get the Iraqi death toll as well. Has anybody added up the dead for the whole war? I know the military and the politicans don't think the dead of the people we are liberating are worth counting, but perhaps someone else does.*<hr></blockquote>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 7:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 3137
Location: Homebush NSW Australia
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by slummingreporter:
Maybe they should hire Nazi statisticians. Six million always seems to stick. Them Germans are precise. Gotta give em that.<hr></blockquote>
It does stick unfortunately because the figure is far higher. You've fallen into the obvious trap. Your reference shelf should be able to assist here.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 8:26 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 3137
Location: Homebush NSW Australia
I recognise and appreciate the gallows humour. My admonition relates specifically to the camps figure rather than the toll as a whole.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:26 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 485
Location: San Jose, CA
I'd want to have some number ... you can use language conceding the number is not precise, but anybody with corrected vision can tell the difference between a few dozen, a few hundred, a few thousand and a few million. <p>I wouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:46 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 3137
Location: Homebush NSW Australia
My point here Tom is that the figures usually omit political and sexual orientation victims. It's worth people understanding the full picture.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 10:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 3137
Location: Homebush NSW Australia
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Paul Wiggins:

Your reference shelf should be able to assist here.
<hr></blockquote><p>“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”<p>[ April 28, 2004: Message edited by: Paul Wiggins ]</p>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 3137
Location: Homebush NSW Australia
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by slummingreporter:
What are the estimated figures for non-Jews, broken down?<p>I've heard sums in the 10 million range, all told, but I'm not certain how that breaks down.<hr></blockquote><p>I've seen various estimates, but ourtide my academic background, which bizzarely is Cold War politics and US presidents from FDR on.<p>Suffice it to say the number is large.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:19 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:01 am
Posts: 29
Location: Philadelphia, cradle of drug companies
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by slummingreporter:
What are the estimated figures for non-Jews, broken down?<p>I've heard sums in the 10 million range, all told, but I'm not certain how that breaks down.<hr></blockquote><p>This week's New Yorker looks at New York Times style regarding the term "genocide." (Article)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 10:26 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 1:01 am
Posts: 39
Location: Des Moines
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
That's a lot of numbers, but no indication of where they come from. One might think it would be impossible to come up with reliable figures. [...] It's not useful to throw around unverifiable numbers. Better to say "untold numbers" or some such.<hr></blockquote>
You're right that reliable figures may be difficult, but we should certainly try. We don't know exactly how large the ocean is, but we can try to get the number of gallons right. We don't know exactly how many miles away Mars is, but we can try to get it right. <p>"Untold numbers" doesn't even give it a sense of scale. We know that entire towns were obliterated by Hussein's orders, and reasonably good estimates are available. Perhaps those estimates deserve better attribution, but it's a disservice to sacrifice accuracy just because of imprecision.<p>Just because the Audit Bureau doesn't measure every issue doesn't mean the circulation department's estimates aren't good enough for most purposes.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 11:26 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 25
Location: North Carolina
Maybe I'm missing something, but why not just demand that the editors and writers at the NYT Review of Books attribute some of those numbers? That might solve the problem, dontcha think?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Arithmetic of Murder
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 11:29 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 8342
Location: Bethesda, Md.
I'm sorry if it was unclear that it didn't mean that we should use "untold numbers" literally. I meant merely that we should say so if we don't know, and that we should not depend on "estimates" unless we say precisely where they come from and have judged them to have credibility.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 25 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

What They're Saying




Useful Links