In the news · Word of the week

Word of the week: car-crash

Prince Andrew has been in the news here in the UK. The Duke of York, to use one of his titles, was, until 1982, second in line to the throne. He has now slipped to eighth in line, so unless there’s some 21st century plot to move him up the list, along the lines of “Kind and Hearts and Coronets”, he will never be king.

He has been in the news because of his friendship and association with convicted (and now dead) sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and specifically because of the interview he gave to Emily Maitlis in a BBC Newsnight special earlier this month. One description has been used almost exclusively to describe the event: “car-crash”. It has been spelt in various media either hyphenated (my choice) or as two words. It was a “car-crash interview”, or a “car crash of an interview”. The distinction (hyphenated or otherwise) mostly relates to whether the term is being used as an adjective or a noun.

A web search of the phrase “Prince Andrew car-crash interview” shows that the following UK-based newspapers spell “car-crash” as a hyphenated word, mostly as an adjective: Express, Mail, Independent, Mirror. The following sites spell it as two words, as a noun: The Sun, Metro, Huffington Post. The BBC, on this page, uses the hyphenated (adjective) form in its headline (“Prince Andrew stands by ‘car-crash’ Jeffrey Epstein BBC interview”) and then as a noun (two words) in the text itself : “… the prince’s interview with BBC Newsnight on Saturday was described as a ‘car crash’.” This strikes me as a sensible approach.

The BBC also, helpfully, provides a full transcript of the interview, here. It has saved me the bother of re-typing the following excerpt, the part of the interview that had me open-mouthed in disbelief. In answer to the question, “Do you regret the whole friendship with Epstein?” Prince Andrew offers the following:

PA: Now, still not and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful. He himself not, as it were, as close as you might think, we weren’t that close. So therefore I mean yes I would go and stay in his house but that was because of his girlfriend, not because of him.

If you want sound and vision instead of the raw text, use this iPlayer link (UK only) or this YouTube link. The paragraph quoted above is at 25:00 on iPlayer and 16:45 on YouTube. You could, of course, watch the entire interview. I don’t recommend it, any more than I would recommend watching footage of an actual car-crash (or “car crash”, if you prefer).




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