Monday, July 02, 2012

This Should Not Be Difficult

Full disclosure: I was a comic-book geek in my youth, and, I suppose, once a comic-book geek always a comic book geek. (I am a child of the so-called Silver Age, and trace my “active” years from 1964—The Amazing Spider-Man #16, “Duel With Daredevil!”—to 1975, when I hied off to college.) But I don’t think it’s simple geekery—nor the fact that I have spent my entire working career as an editor, a writer, a creative director, etc.—to be continually torqued off when The Media can’t be bothered to spell things correctly. 

Like this, from today’s HuffPost Daily Brief

Let us pause for a moment an consider the irony inherent in the fact that James Franco, who co-starred in the original three Spider-Man films, seems not to know how to correctly render the proper noun (and trademark). Or that his editor seems not to know how. Or that Huffington Post’s proofreaders seem not to. 

Assuming there are in fact editors and proofreaders there, which more than once I have had cause to doubt. 

I have long since become inured to such monstrosities as mailboxes bearing the legend The Anderson’s, or copy handed to me replete with “quotation” marks to “highlight” words the “author” considers “important” (though possibly the “author” is being “facetious,” as possibly I am here), or “infer” instead of “imply,” “whom” instead of “who,” and so on. These generally are the product of nonprofessionals, which entitles them to a significant amount of slack.

But it’s disheartening to realize that even in the “professional” realm—and at a time when advertising for the upcoming movie series reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, is relentless—nobody can be bothered to check it out, to look at a movie poster, a comic book, the internet, and say, “Oh, it’s not Spiderman; it’s Spider-Man. Well, that’s an easy fix!” 

Nope, no time for any of that sort of nonsense! 

Yes, you’re right: It’s just a comic-book character. And the majority of the world doesn’t know and doesn’t care one way or the other. 


It has been pointed out that God is in the details. And it seems unlikely that a media organization (and Huffington is far from alone in botching “Spider-Man”: As soon as the box-office figures start rolling in on Wednesday, we will see the name mangled in all sorts of print and electronic communiquÈs—will be sloppy only with the “little stuff.” 

If you can’t be bothered to check to make sure you’re getting the “little stuff” right, what would make me think you’re bothering to check to make sure you’re getting the “big stuff” right? 

Truth is, you’re in a business in which there’s no such thing as “little stuff” and “big stuff.” Not if you’re the least bit interested in credibility. 

1 comment:

Denny Gale said...

The ever-vigilant editor speaks! Good post.