I wrote a usage tip last week about “cord” and “chord.” One of the commenters, Miaka Kirino, told me of a sign on a bus window that misused “chord” and she was kind enough to snap a picture and post it over on G+. With her permission, here it is: a truly cringe-worthy typo in the wild.
There sure seem to be plenty of typos in the news lately. (Probably the Mayans again.)
First, a man in Washington state used his tractor to plow a marriage proposal into a field. The letters were 150 yards tall. He flew his girlfriend, Jody, up in a plane so she could see the popped question from above. Unfortunately, his tractor didn’t have a spellcheck—he had plowed the first letter of her name backward.
(The photo comes from this site; I added the arrow.)
Next, we have another entry in the Worst Possible Way to Misspell “Public” Sweepstakes. This one also comes from Washington state. (Something in the water?) The Washington Charter School Resource Center placed a newspaper ad to spotlight an upcoming conference. Neither the center nor the newspaper noticed that a crucial “L” was missing from the word “public.”
(The photo comes from this site. Interestingly, the story there links to a similar mishap that happened in May 2012, when the University of Texas handed out commencement programs to families of students graduating from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Yeah—you know what happened.)
Longtime readers of this blog might remember a banner displayed at a football game that asked sponsors to “become a partner in pubic education.”
And finally, the Toronto Sun newspaper recently ran a correction notice to fix an error about whether teachers had been paid during a work stoppage. Unfortunately, they now need to run a correction about the correction.
(The photo comes from this site; I added the arrow.)
Is there a lesson to learn here? Maybe it’s just that no matter how bad your typo is, at least it’s not plowed into the ground 150 yards tall. Probably. I can’t vouch for all of you.
I’d like to have a chat with you, my good reader (I know there’s one of you out there), about perception and how it relates to proofreading. More precisely, I want to talk about how it relates to the lack of proofreading. I even have a concrete example. Shall we?
This restaurant in Rockford IL is offering a “Final Feast” on the supposed last night of our lives, December 20, 2012. For $180 per person one can enjoy a nine-part dinner (an amuse bouche, courses one through three, an intermezzo, courses four and five, a cheese course, and dessert, each with wine pairings) including foie gras, caviar, Dungeness crab, Dover sole, filet mignon, and a chocolate cake adorned with edible 24k gold leaf. Pretty classy, right? Really upper crust, right?
Can someone please explain to me why no one proofread the menu? For that matter, no one proofread the webpage it’s on, either. Nor did anyone proofread their lunch menu, where one can get salad with “musclen,” or “mesclin,” or the actual “mesclun” blend. Yes. All three versions on one page, like some kind of bonus package. But I digress.
For a feast costing $180 a head, featuring such a five-star lineup of dishes and wines, I expect the printed menu (either online or on paper) to be error-free. I expect a high standard for the food AND for the written word in such an establishment. This ain’t EAT AT JOE’S with the one burned-out letter in the vintage neon sign. It’s a place run by an award-winning chef with a stellar reputation. Pity the printing on his menus didn’t receive the same level of attention as his dishes do. There is simply no excuse for “pared” instead of “paired,” or for “chives organic scrambled egg” (I’m pretty sure there should be a comma after “chives,” don’t you think?), or for “Tequilla.” And that’s only in the menu proper. There are also the errors in the text at the top of the web page, where we see that the staff is “exited to show off their . . . talent” and that the wines and liquor choices “will be announce closer to the dinner.”
Honestly, there is no excuse for this kind of sloppiness. As much as I despise using software to do an editor’s or proofreader’s job, in this case I don’t mind saying I think it would have helped. When I first heard about this “Final Feast” I thought it sounded like something I would actually attend, had I the wherewithal to do so. My perception changed when I saw how poorly the menu had been prepared. Perhaps one might say “He’s a chef, not an editor.” True enough, but–he should care as much about the printed description of his dishes as he does about the dishes themselves. As it is, I find I don’t really care that I can’t possibly afford to attend this “Final Feast.” As sloppy as the menu is, part of me wonders just how perfect the foods will really be.
Perception. It’s powerful stuff.
Some mistakes are harder to erase than others. In Oklahoma, state representative Mike Ritze sponsored a bill (and donated money) to install a granite monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol building. The monument is 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and it weighs 2,000 pounds.
One potential problem is that it might invite a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union because the monument violates the separation of church and state. But perhaps of more immediate concern is the fact that the granite contains a few spelling errors.
The Fourth Commandment mistakenly says, “Remember the Sabbeth day, to keep it holy.” (The correct spelling is Sabbath.)
The Tenth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidseruant . . .” That final word, of course, should be maidservant. (Or perhaps this is actually a clever way to get around the rule. “Hey, God’s totally cool with me coveting my neighbor’s maidservant! It’s just the maidseruants I’ve gotta stay away from.”)
Ritze plans to have the misspellings corrected. No word on whether he’s adding another commandment that says, “Thou shalt not skip the spellcheck.”
The photo comes from this site.
This morning while reading through my G+ feed, I came across this PSA from Bay Harbour Med Spa, forwarded by Eco Press.
The PSA is important, to be sure. Accutane use by pregnant women, or by those who are trying to become pregnant, is a serious matter. However, the problem is this wording:
” . . . if you’re thinking of becoming pregnant or are pregnant, you must NOT do so by becoming pregnant.”
Excuse me? What was that? Don’t get pregnant by getting pregnant?
Oh, okay–what the writer meant was, if you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, don’t use Accutane. That’s what they meant. It’s not anything like what they said, though.
I left a comment to that effect on the blog entry. We shall see what, if anything, comes of that. Meanwhile, ladies, stay away from Accutane if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive. The two do NOT play well together.
(And yes, I also noted the missing “s” from “clients” in the sentence immediately following this monstrosity.)
Here’s a fantastic collection of photos showing some astounding that’s-gotta-be-Photoshopped typos on professional sports jerseys. The misspelled player names are fun, but the real wowsers are the team name screw-ups, like the San Francicso Giants (#9), the Kentcuky Wildcats (#11), the Cncinnati Reds (#23), and many more. My favorite might be the way “Navy” is misspelled on the jersey in the inset on photo #20:
(In fairness, that might pass as a phonetic spelling of the team name.)
No insightful commentary from me. Just go enjoy the gallery. And be glad that your typos aren’t usually displayed for all the world to see (and photograph).
(Thanks to Kevin P. for alerting me to this amazing gallery!)
The Red Lion Area school district in Pennsylvania tried to drum up some sponsors by creating a snazzy banner to display at football games. I imagine the idea was “Hey, once local businesses see how cool our banner looks, they’ll want to become sponsors and get their names up on the next banner!”
But their banner had a wee bit of a typo.
Don Dimoff, the marketing and communications manager for the district, said:
“Of all the missed letters, it had to be that one. The poor sign company feels horrible because they missed it. The people who hung the sign feel horrible because they missed it. I feel horrible. I’ve been losing sleep and haven’t eaten in two days trying to deal with this.”
The school district has apologized for what they described as an “unfortunate error.”
Cheer up, Red Lion folks! Maybe the banner will attract some sponsors after all—though maybe not the kind you were expecting.