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Why I Love Faulty Editing in High Profile Literature

February 19, 2009

A few years back there was (and probably still is) chain-mail circulating about the human brain and how it processes the written word through the little seeing parts in our faces. It went a little something like this:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Therefore, it would be correct to assume that no matter how fucked up a word is, our brains will still figure shit out. Knowing this, it’s a wonder we proofread anything. Admittedly, I read every blog I post 4897248 times before and after publishing. Typos are distracting even IF our brains instinctively know what the writer is trying to convey.

Until recently, typos in high-profile literature infuriated me. I would rant, as I am prone to do, that SOMEONE should have noticed. The reader isn’t getting paid to proofread and therefore should not be expected to. I started reading with a pen handy and obsessively correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation. And I wonder why no one talked to me in college.

Editing books while you read them is like walking into the zoo with a doggie-doo bag and picking up peacock droppings instead of walking around them like you’re supposed to. They are majestic birds. They poop. LOOK AT THE FUCKING BIRDS AND PUT THE GODDAMNED BAG AWAY.

A year ago I would have whipped out my pen and added the “n” to “many” on pg. 3 of If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor. But instead, I wished I had a penis I could whip out in homage to faulty editing (and Sam Raimi). Someone MUST have noticed that typo. And that same someone must have realized that it was much more difficult to stop the presses and reprint for a small mistake no one would notice because an English university no one cares about spammed our inboxes in 1997. The typo stays. And I rejoice inwardly (and through random happy text messages) that the person who gets PAID to proofread is the kind of person with a “fuck it” attitude toward life.

I could learn something from you.

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