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, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, and now at

Friday, April 2, 2010

Three things the Vatican could learn from Richard Nixon

1. Yes, some people dislike you and take glee in your misfortune. Do not give them ammunition; they will use it.

2. Not everyone, however, who reports on what you did – or failed to do – is an enemy, and, anyhow, facts are facts.

3. Cover-ups magnify and spread the initial crime. 


  1. I'm not sure the Vatican is accustomed to having to do serious PR work like this. Their pronouncements are more usually, as they say, ex cathedra. :-)

  2. Three posts in one day - is this a record?

  3. I think Mike is slightly askew; I'm not Catholic, but I believe that only messages declared as ex cathedra are by definition infallible, and they have to be issued in the name of the Pope.
    And I still haven't figured out how to get past the anonymous post - Dave

  4. I wish that the Pope might read this.
    And all the bishops.
    And all Catholics. We can't just leave this problem to Daddy.

    jim: Do you know Kipling's Poem "Norman and Saxon"? It is the dying message of a Norman Baron to his son, A.D. 1100. He tells his son how to rule Saxons... and ends, "*never* you tell them a lie!"

  5. Patrick K. LackeyApril 4, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    4. Shaving once a day is insuficient.