9.04.2010

changing the world, armed with white-out and a black sharpie

Last time I declared someone "my new hero," she turned out to be an actor doing a hoax. I don't care. I still loved the video of the fake assistant pretend-quitting her imaginary job.

These guys are my hero of the moment, and they really did this, and wrote a book about it. And they had a sense of humour about it, too. Maybe on that cross-country trip I dream of making, we'll arm ourselves with white-out and Sharpies and help stamp out the scourge of apostrophe abuse.
Incensed by a "no tresspassing" sign, Jeff Deck launched a cross-country trip to right grammatical wrongs.

He enlisted a friend, Benjamin D. Herson, and together they got to work erasing errant quotation marks, rectifying misspellings and cutting unnecessary possessive apostrophes.

The Great Typo Hunt is the story of their crusade.

In 2 1/2 months, Herson and Deck traveled the perimeter of the country, exploring towns and cities in search of typos. They found 437 typos and were able to correct more than half of them.

I'm very surprised they found only 437 typos. I saw half that number on a menu in Santa Fe last summer.

Check out the website: The Great Typo Hunt.

6 comments:

rww said...

What ruined the story for me was that they asked permission to correct the typos. Kind of defeated the spontaneity of the whole adventure.

L-girl said...

Might have ruined it for you, but it could have saved them from being beaten up or shot!

Not sure you can make a 2-1/2 month trip around the US spontaneously anyway.

johngoldfine said...

The brand-new president of my school and a recent Ph.D recipient sent out an email this week in which he discussed "...our student's"--all of them, not one possessing something.

This is the sort of thing I ignore with my own (let's try it out for laffs) student's, but it was disconcerting from an Important Person. I don't really worry about all that usage stuff until these self-same Important People try telling me that our students' future employers care about correct spelling and punctuation. Up to a point maybe and beyond a certain level certainly, but generally, not so much.

I get mad at the IPs for babbling and passing on nonsensical conventional wisdom on a topic they know nothing about, but they never seem to get what I mean, much less have a clue about apostrophes, possessives, and plurals

Coincidentally, l-girl, I wrote this in my blog earlier today. Seems relevant, hope it's okay to include it:

Sept. 4. A student just asked why she has to take a writing course. Back in the day, I used to give the standard, white bread English teacher answer: 'Being able to communicate efficiently and exactly is a skill employers value. Your improved writing skills enhance your future employability and give you a tool helpful in all your classes both now and in future education you might undertake.'

That's true enough, but no one wants to hear it or read that dull sentence--and no one who has actually seen some of the lame communications turned out by the Important People who value communications so much can ever quite take it seriously either.

What I honestly believe is weird, I admit it, but it's a little late for John A. (don't ask!) Goldfine to be worried about weird. Here's what I wrote the student:

I'll tell you why you should write: because the universe only exists through our words, or, if you are religious, through the Word. Every piece of writing you write that is good and then made even better helps improve the universe, helps to bring light to the darkness that sometimes seems to surround us. The word is light.

L-girl said...

John, one of your comments appeared 8 (!) times, so if I put the wrong one through, let me know. The apparent dupes are all in moderation, I can put them through or delete.

johngoldfine said...

Hey, anything I have to say is definitely worth listening to eight times and committing to memory--but, in fact, blogger kept telling me to frig off every time I tried to post.

I'm a persistent cuss!

L-girl said...

I'm a persistent cuss!

I'm the same!

IP apostrophe abuse abounds.