John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and random topics. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. The original site,, at, and now at

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How could this have happened?

There’s only one explanation: Mistakes were made:


Microsoft Vista

Jon and Kate Plus 8

Fanny packs: Perhaps the last thing that broad-of-beam Americans needed was an accessory that emphasized their girth.

Abstinence-only sex education

The Apprentice: And any other television program, contemplated or actual, featuring Donald Trump.

McDonald’s McRib


The Atkins diet: And the Metabalife diet, the South Beach diet ...


Knight Rider: All versions.

Jell-O shooters

Gladiator flip-flops: Actually, any flip-flops worn anywhere but to the shower or the pool.

Sport utility vehicles

Chocolate martinis: Actually any cocktail labeled as a martini containing anything other than gin or vodka and vermouth.



  1. Can we keep the chocolate martinis if we change the name?

  2. Whoa, whoa, there. Let's not throw out the bitters with the brown bathwater.

  3. I'm with you on all of 'em!!!
    - Anne in Wisconsin

  4. I agree with approximately half of this list. As for the other half, I'm either neutral or have a non-binary opinion. (Although, I suppose "neutral" is not an option in a binary opinion system....)

  5. To paraphrase: There is no thing that is completely useless - it can always be used as a bad example.

    Retired in Elkridge

  6. Without tattoos, how would anyone know where dead bishops are from?

  7. I'm surprised you listed Knight Rider. Ok, so David Hasselhoff can't act. And, maybe you don't love cars.

    But isn't the opening narration wonderful?

    "Knight Rider, a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champoin the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law."

    Well, anyway, at least you didn't include "MacGyver" on this list.