Thursday, April 9, 2009

And you thought editors were useless

Well apparently this has been a hot news item here in Utah, but for those of my readers who live far, far away I'll let you in on the "scoop." Monday morning the Daily Universe had to recall all copies (well not all because some people kept their originals as "collector's items") of the paper and issue a reprint because of a hapless "spell check" error. The caption front and center was meant to describe how "the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles" sustained a new apostle, however what it actually discussed was the Quorum of the Twelve Apostates--who funnily enough look just like the apostles.

The Daily Universe is sticking to their story that spell check incorrectly fixed a misspelling of apostles, but this skeptic doesn't buy it. How were they trying to spell apostles, "apostatles"? I think it more likely to have begun as a joke, the writer assumed the next person, or surely the person after that, would catch it. Either that or it was an editing test and they all failed. If the Daily Universe had proper editors, a fact I have long disbelieved, it would have been caught and the University could have saved some money and kept from looking incredibly sheepish.

And while I'm at it, I'll share my defense for the Oxford comma. This is a lifelong battle that I feel compelled to undertake. Consider the following:
After winning the Nobel Peace Prize, she thanked her parents, the Pope, and Mother Theresa.

After winning the Nobel Peace Prize, she thanked her parents, the Pope and Mother Theresa.
Do you see it?

In the first sentence, the one with the Oxford comma, the prize winner is thanking three people/groups of people: her parents, the Pope, and Mother Theresa. In the second sentence this is not the case. Instead, the prize winner's words become a confession: her parents are, in fact, the Pope and Mother Theresa. Now that would be shocking.

So what have we all learned? Spell check does not solve all our problems, but editors do. The Oxford comma is a crucial and beloved punctuation mark that can help us all avoid heretical, and embarrassing, statements.

Ahhh, don't you feel better--and smarter?

Warning: Somehow the Daily Universe seems to have been remarkably successful in keeping the above picture off the internet. I, myself, cannot reveal my sources or how I intercepted the picture I'm posting (I am not one of those with a collector's copy). I must therefore respectfully request that it not be disseminated indiscriminately because I'm going to blame you if I get kicked out of BYU two weeks before graduation.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Where the fun is

I always knew the College of Humanities was a bit liberal--why else do you think I am an English major?--but still, this seems a bit much. This morning I received this invitation.

Dear Humanities students,

We are having our closing social this Thursday, April 9th @ 7:00 PM! We will have some live music and mixed drinks, so make sure to stop by.

The English Society's Classy Closing Social

Thursday, April 9th

7:00-9:00 PM


Free drinks and live music!

Hmmm, "mixed drinks"? What exactly does that mean? This is what google found when I asked them:

I admit that is more or less what I thought of.

So if they don't mean mixed drinks in this sense, what do they mean? And why do they think that such mixed drinks would be a big enough draw to make it their main advertisement? It almost makes me want to go so I can see for myself what exactly the college of Humanities serves up after hours.