One of the perils of spending time with the folks is that you lose control over what is being watched on TV. The other night, we had “America’s Got Talent” on the big screen, watching smoke come out of David Hasselhoff’s ears as he tries to decide between a boy teen sensation and a girl teen sensation. The strange thing to me was that neither of these kids had a name that would give you any kind of hint as to the gender of the child. I swear, when he picked “Arcadia,” I was amazed that the boy reacted with joy.
In any case, in the middle of this bastion of mid-summer programming, Mariah Carey showed up to promote her new single, complete with the bad-ass male dance troupe that apparently is comprised of the descendants of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” guys. When the song was over, they put up a graphic on the screen as to how to get “Maria Carey’s latest single.” It was up for a moment and quickly came down. I couldn’t rewind it (the folks lack TiVo, another peril of the house) so I was convinced I didn’t see it until a friend texted me about the spelling error as well.
This was the latest in a string of spelling FAIL that I’ve noticed lately in some pretty visible places. This road sign has become a national story, in that the only word they managed to get right, apparently, was “exit.”
Even worse, when Dad and I were rolling through Vegas last month, we found this beauty, a rare instance of “fail FAIL.” Making this worse, it was in the parking lot for the COURT HOUSE. Apparently while justice is blind, she is also illiterate.
Dad kind of shrugged it off as par for the course. This is the same man who sent me to Catholic school, where the nuns would beat you senseless for not looking up both the spelling AND the meaning of words you felt like using.
I asked my students (an editing class) what they thought of this phenomenon. Many of them noted it was unacceptable, horrible, rotten, bad and no good. These, however, are also the people who occasionally send me emails with the word “assingment” in the subject line.
I understand that my job value is essentially predicated on the ability to convince people that writing, grammar, style and spelling are important. Without being able to make this argument, I am like a farmer without a field or a plastic surgeon without Joan Rivers. However, I have to think that I’m not the only one who would be scared as hell to see a sign at the doctor’s office telling me that “Dr. Smith cars about all his patience.” I’d like to think that if you want people to believe you’re on your game, it starts with being careful on the little things.
Am I too concerned about this? Let me know.