2014, for me, was the year of the typo correction. For whatever reason, I felt emboldened to act as copywriter for the world. (Just not for my own work, which I often find full of errors upon reexamination.) Much of my Larry David-esque perceived need to correct other people’s harmless mistakes or typos stems from an empowering NPR segment about a book called “The Great Typo Hunt.” Yes, I am enough of a nerd to call an NPR story about grammar “empowering.” Get at me, world!
It began as early as January, when IndieWire ran a story called “The 20 Best Films of 2014 We’ve Already Seen.” This highlighted festival films from the previous year due for release in the upcoming calendar year, and the original list inexplicably omitted “The Immigrant.” Foreshadowing (or stemming from) my being a warrior for this film, I commented about this egregious exclusion.
The post is now called “The 21 Best Films of 2014 We’ve Already Seen,” but the URL still says “20.” Point, Marshall.
It continued with the website for “Obvious Child.” I was trying to find a poster to add to my PowerPoint aggregating all the films I saw in a year (as chronicled in Random Factoid #200) on the website when I noticed a pretty egregious typo. I emailed the admin listed on the Tumblr, and I wound up getting a personal response from the film’s producer, Elisabeth Holm. The correction can be seen below.
Then, as I am often prone to do, I was scouring the pre-order section of iTunes to see when I might be able to rent certain titles I missed. I noticed that “Laggies” was up – and that its star, Keira Knightley, had her name misspelled on the cover. I sent the studio a quick email and, sure enough, the cover changed!
And the gentle, metaphorical red pen did not limit itself to spelling errors. I also tackled factual inaccuracies, such as one that I found in a piece by Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst at The Hollywood Reporter.
Now, just so we’re clear, I am far from perfect and actually made plenty a pretty embarrassing error while thinking I was correcting someone else’s error. See that comment from The Dissolve? It was in reply to a comment that I deleted, which was calling them out for misspelling “Slave” when it was referencing the video’s misspelling. Had I watched the video, I would have known that. Had I really been paying attention, I would have also noticed that they also “misspelled” Brad Pitt’s name.
I decided not to let the comment live on and shame me, like a coward. Perhaps in the new year, I will limit myself in my quest to make the world a safer place for proofreading to only correcting errors which I am completely certain are wrong. Or, rather, I can just shake my head in dismay at every typo I see online (cough, IndieWire – you’re the worst offender) and hope they feel the same shame that I experience when I realize a similar gaffe in my own work.
P.S. – How can I tell AT&T about this bad typo?