John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wrapped in the mantle of shame

More in sorrow ...

The current issue of The New Yorker has an article on Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, in which one passage describes the mayor’s boyhood home as having “seven bronzed baby shoes on the mantle.”

7 comments:

  1. No wonder Elijah cast if off to Elisha. Bronze is heavy.

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  2. I must be dense today. What's the issue? My trusty Mac dictionary includes this definition for "bronze":

    bronze |bränz|
    verb [ trans. ] (usu. be bronzed)
    make (a person or part of the body) suntanned : Alison was bronzed by outdoor life | [as adj. ] ( bronzed) bronzed and powerful arms.
    • give a surface of bronze or something resembling bronze to : the doors were bronzed with sculpted reliefs.

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  3. Psst, Frolic -- run "mantle" and "mantel" on your trusty Mac dictionary. '-)

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  4. That's what I get for commenting while hopped up on cold medication. How very embarrassing (for me and the New Yorker).

    I personally think the New Yorker fact checker department is largely a myth. A few stories on subjects that I know well have been full of basic errors. We're talking about mistakes regarding public events and widely verifiable facts.

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  5. It is indeed a silly error, and it reminds me of No. 99 from StuffWhitePeopleLike.com, which includes this line: "If a white person were to catch a mistake in The New Yorker, it would be a sufficient reason for a large party."

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  6. Not only that, but babies, like the rest of us, wear shoes in pairs. What happened to the eighth shoe? Did the dog eat it before it could be preserved in perennial bronze? Or does it mean "seven pairs of bronzed baby shoes"?

    As for the fact checkers, they certainly existed in the past, but are probably mostly mythical today.

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  7. Premier Mantles is one of this country's leading manufacturers of mantels. I hope I didn't misspell Premier.

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