Days after he was cleared of murder charges, wannabe cop George Zimmerman wonders why journalists still insist on calling him a “wannabe cop.”
“I doubt it has anything to do with the media’s bias against me,” he said from an undisclosed location, fearful for his life. “It’s probably just a stylistic blunder.”
Wannabe cop Zimmerman has taken the journalists to task for what he calls “shoddy reporting that would make even the greenest of first-year journalism students cringe.” He insists that news organizations should avoid calling him a wannabe cop.
“Sometimes ‘wannabe cop’ is enclosed in quotation marks, and sometimes not. If there are quotation marks, then for the love of God, cite the source,” wannabe cop Zimmerman said. “I mean, who actually said that for the first time? Some invisible witness for the prosecution? Al Sharpton? If you say I’m a ‘wannabe cop,’ then tell us who said that.”
“And if you aren’t enclosing ‘wannabe cop’ in quotation marks, then there’s little hope for you as a professional. First of all, ‘wannabe’ is non-standard English. I know, I know. The language evolves and standards change. But we can make a clear case that the term ‘wannabe’ is too slangy to be used by the press. Plus, it’s on the outs.”
According to the wannabe cop, the term ‘wannabe’ first appeared California in the 1970s as a derisive term for a phony gang member. Usage peaked in the mid-1990s, just as the era of “gangsta rap” was was waning. The nail on the coffin was when the Spice Girls released their hit 1996 song “Wannabe.”
“‘Wannabe’ isn’t actually employed much anymore,” the wannabe cop said.
“Would a newspaper refer to a drug addict as a ‘speed freak’ or a conservative American as ‘square’? Of course not,” he added.
“As a journalist,” the wannabe cop added,“you need to take the side of caution. Check out books, like the AP Style Guide, that you were probably required to buy as freshmen. Read over your notes from Journalism 101. Even Merriam-Webster cautions that ‘wannabe’ is informal. And we know how Merriam-Webster is.”
Neither the AP, Reuters nor the New York Times responded to the wannabe cop Zimmerman’s remarks. However, a cursory look at recent articles show that major news organizations are still referring to him as a “wannabe cop,” leading most Americans to conjure an image of a maladroit man-boy clumsily running around with a loaded gun, pretending to be Dirty Harry.