Friday, 20 August 2010

Daily Fail

Further to this post, and this one – I think we can agree that spelling Nazis are awful, but somehow brilliant. I’d like to think my corrective Tourette’s is limited to verbal exchanges, but when people are so irked that they grab their pencil in a blind spelling-fury it does tickle me exceedingly.

I remember being in the toilets of my university department a few years ago, where someone had thoughtfully blu-tacked an advert for a housemate on the inner door of the cubicle, with some foresight as to the maximum time one spends stationary in such situations. They were obviously eager to fill the spare room, and their big sell went as follows:

Two students; one male, one female, looking for a friendly, clean, non-smoking housemate. Recently refurbished house; rent 260 excluding bills; 5 minutes to Tesco; 10 minutes to uni; 15 mins to

At which point the text broke off, and someone had neatly scrawled, ‘ponder the use of the semicolon?’ Granted, this was the English department, but it greatly amused me that someone had bothered to stop (possibly mid-flow) to find a pencil and gently correct a fellow student’s writing.

It's the guerilla tactics and passive aggressive point-making that really makes my day. This was recently re-tweeted by @BadJournalism and shows a similar frustration with everyday errors and typos; it sounds odd, but it can seem disrespectful to misspell something like the announcement of a death. It’s like someone trying to spell ‘Will you marry me’ in rose petals or spaghetti or something and getting it wrong – it just seems careless. As is substituting all punctuation with that most vibrant of symbols, the question mark.

I do recommend BadJournalism if you’re jumping on the Twitterwagon. They find and are sent tips of brilliantly bad-taste headlines, subbing fails and hilarious subject matter. I recently drew to their attention, for example, the Daily Mail’s groundbreaking announcement that 'Nearly 70% of working mothers in the UK are now employed.’Good on them, I say.

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