“Scare” Quotes

“SCARE” QUOTES….This being Memorial Day weekend, not many people are posting over at The Corner. Andrew Stuttaford is, however, and after seeing so many Stuttaford posts in a row I have a question: what’s with all the scare quotes? Some examples:

  • 11:43 AM: ….good piece in the Guardian on the security failures in ?Saudi? Arabia….public debate over the future of ?Prince? Nayef….

  • 4:22 PM: The war against the ?obesity? epidemic continues in all its absurdity….

  • 4:21 PM: Interesting story in the Sunday Telegraph on the curriculum of the Saudi-funded ?King? Fahd….

  • 12:36 PM: One of the reasons that the EU has so little credibility with its ?citizens?….Romano Prodi, the EU?s shrill, sleazy and incompetent ?president?….

I get the point of ?citizens? in the last example, but why ?president?? Like him or not, Prodi really is the EU president, right? Ditto for ?King? Fahd and ?Prince? Nayef. And is ?Saudi? Arabia some kind of conservative in joke? That’s really the name of the country, after all.

And I could understand obesity ?epidemic? as a way of snarkily indicating that it’s not a real epidemic, but why ?obesity? epidemic? Agree or not, they really are talking about the problem of too many people being fat.

I’m not really kvetching about Stuttaford’s use of scare quotes ? it’s a perfectly standard device in polemical writing ? I’m just curious about their rather idiosyncratic use in these cases. Is there some kind of code involved? If there is, I want to know what it is.

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