Friday, May 01, 2009

Pubic humiliation

My favorite newspaper correction website, Regret the Error, has a lovely little piece this week on a lengthy correction in the Irish Times, lamenting that the letter L, "that slenderest and most treacherous of letter types," has somehow slipped from a key phrase, making the author appear to say that something was a matter of "pubic faith."

"This is a risk that serious newspapers, in which the word “public” will always feature prominently, run every day," the Times writes. "It wouldn’t be as big a problem if, for example, it was the ‘b’ that kept dropping out. But then we or the spellchecker would notice that. Whereas the lower-case “l” has a Judas-like ability to slip away unnoticed, with embarrassing results."

This happened to me once, as I have probably typed here somewhere before, when I wrote about a "poorly attended public hearing" in Greene County, Virginia. At least that's what I MEANT to type, except for that damned L.

The error slipped passed me, my editor, my publisher, and several other people who read the page as I was laying it out. It was only revealed the next day, when a local attorney called my editor and noted that "Had I known it was going to be a pubic hearing, I might have attended."

That is only slightly more embarrassing than the ad we ran in the same paper a year earlier in the annual Christmas special edition which wished us all "Peach on Earth."


dogimo said...

Oh my Lord, that site is so hilarious. I was incapacitated by wheezing giggles at only the first item! -

>An April 29 Style review of Tori Murden McClure's memoir "A Pearl in the Storm" incorrectly said that the author could bench-press 650 pounds.'s not just the ridiculousness of the weight, it's...the ridiculousness of including how much someone can bench press in a Style review of their memoir! Plus, the name of the person and it's just such a weird and nigh-impossible macho boast. One wonders not so much how it got past the fact-checkers as why they didn't make the whole memoir about THAT! I believe the world record for a female is something like 530 lbs!

OK, I'm going back there to giggle about something else.

Magna said...

At least it wasn't a hearing about public access!