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27 June 2012

Master class #6: Anna Chapman: the sexy “sleeper” wakes up

The self-advertising ex-"sleeper"
Today’s Moscow Times carries an unsigned article related to the so-called “spy”, Anna Chapman (who looks more like a delusional, Nashi-syle misfit to me) which includes the following paragraph:
“Anna Chapman, recognizable for her good looks and blazing red hair, was arrested in the United States in June 2010 as part of a sting operation that netted her and nine other alleged sleeper agents. She has kept a high profile since being deported back to Russia, leveraging her notoriety to fuel a budding political career and appearances in television and magazines.”
There are several language points to make about this, in sequence:

-          The expression is “flaming red hair”, not “blazing red”. A “blaze” relates to fire, or a sunset, or something purely physical, while “flame” implies passion, memory and other emotions. You refer to an unforgotten old lover as an “old flame” not an “old blaze”, and you don’t go to the Alexandrovsky Gardens to look at the “eternal blaze” or “the blaze of the unknown solider”, do you?
-          You “maintain” a high profile, or you “keep a low profile”. “Maintain” implies effort and planning, while “keep” implies protection and caution.
-          As the lady concerned was “deported”, it is unnecessary to say “to Russia” since all deportations are to your country of origin. Other types of forced exit are called “expulsions”. And to say “deported back” is a redundancy since any deportation implies a return, or going back.
-          The last italicised part of the sentence is a typical journalistic hodge-podge where the writer has lost control of the sentence structure, no doubt under the stress of deadlines. Intelligibility suffers. Leaving out “budding political career” (since the verb “fuel” governs the last part as well), ask yourself this: can you “fuel appearances in (sic – should be “on” television and “in” magazines”) television and magazines”? I don’t think so. The writer seems to have blazes on his or her brain.

The last sentence might be better written like this:

“Since being deported from the United States, she has kept herself in the public eye by using her notoriety to gain an entrée into politics and the media.” 

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