Homer Nods

It’s amazing how hard it is to proofread your own stuff. I just saw a glaring typo in the first line of a recent post; it sat there for more than a day before I spotted it. (If you didn’t see it, too late; it’s fixed.) It ruined the whole flow of the line, and I must have looked right at it dozens of times before posting.

Ah well. As Arthur said in The Once and Future King:

“If people reach perfection they vanish, you know.”


  1. Kevin Kim says

    Maybe I noticed the error; maybe I didn’t. I’m never quite sure what the etiquette is, these days, when I spot an error in someone else’s blog post. With friends, I try not to be a smartass who publicly points out errors in the comments section. If I do do that (and I’m sure I’ve committed that sin more than once on this very blog), I try to approach the subject humorously, and will sometimes refer to the fact that I make typos all the time (I do), and that, quite often, I fail to pick up on my own mistakes until days or even weeks later.

    Lately, my strategy has been either (1) to approach the person through email with a friendly “editor’s note” and a reminder that I only want that person to look his best online, or (2) to say nothing at all, for fear of seeming a pedantic asshole, and with the understanding that we all make mistakes: the world won’t end if an error goes uncorrected.

    This might be a good time to thank you, Malcolm, for rescuing many of my typo-ridden comments on this blog by correcting my gaffes yourself or by deleting misbegotten comments that I’ve asked you to delete. Speaking as an East Asian, I appreciate the face-saving gestures.

    Posted December 18, 2015 at 1:40 am | Permalink
  2. Well said, Kevin. And I know exactly what you mean, Malcolm. Been there; done that; many times.

    It seems ironic that I am an excellent spotter of typos — except for those I commit myself. This is why I ask my wife to edit what I write when I deem it important enough. I think part of the problem has to do with knowing what I meant when I wrote it, thereby “reading” what I meant to write rather than what I actually wrote.

    Posted December 18, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink
  3. I am relieved to see that you’re fallible Malcolm, lol. My writing is littered with errors, both great and small.

    Henry, that “…knowing what I meant when I wrote it, thereby “reading” what I meant to write rather than what I actually wrote,” has crossed my mind many times with the historical cherry-pickers today, who comb through writings, seeking to validate a present-day partisan political point. The founding fathers fall prey to this technique often, whereas I try to read a wide sampling of their writings to get a feel for their views in totality, rather than reaching a sweeping conclusion based on one errant comment.

    Posted December 18, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
  4. “… has crossed my mind many times …”

    Great minds think alike, LB.

    Posted December 18, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    By all means, Kevin (or any of you), feel free to let me know when you spot a typo. I’ll always be grateful.

    Posted December 19, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  6. Paul Rain says

    Don’t worry, those of us reading through feedly will be happy to point out that whose/=/who.. Merry Christmas!

    Posted December 23, 2015 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

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