The proximity of "defective hip" makes me read attorney as a torn knee.
Could this be the best real [huge yawning space screaming "Fill me!] life example yet of the need for compound [and another one] modifier hyphenation? Hmm, I think it actually could.
Thank you for the laugh this morning.
I can think of two interpretations -- "hip attorneys" might be lawyers who are up on the latest news, or those specializing in accidental fractures. The two versions would probably be pronounced differently but written identically. (A comma would be inappropriate, since in either case "hip" is more closely bound to the noun than "defective" is.)I once saw a silly-looking mistake that I assume was introduced by a copy editor: a judge accused some attorney of being the "most vexatious vexatious litigant" that the judge had ever encountered. One version of that quotation that I saw included a comma after the first "vexatious", implying to me that the editor had never heard of the term "vexatious litigant", and consequently changing the meaning of the phrase to be merely that the litigant was quite annoying.
What poignancy there might be in the story told by this three-word headline: The attorney, well-known for being "with it," a real hip hepcat, who is a genetic mutant, defective and doomed. Or, perhaps, the attorney who, yet again, is the epitome of cool, but whose single-minded pursuit of all things hip has made him ineffectual--nay more defective.
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