When I publish a post on this blog, and later find an error in it…
I hate that.
An error in spelling or grammar or punctuation, a typo, a “your” instead of a “you’re,” a “continuously” that should be “continually…”
(And I get that last one wrong continually, which means “something that is frequently occurring but intermittent” vs. continuously, “something that occurs without interruption.”)
I hate it even more when someone else spots an error.
I’m embarrassed and annoyed and even ashamed.
I really aim to make my posts perfect, but my aim is sometimes off.
But now I’ve decided to feel slightly less embarrassed and annoyed and ashamed.
Because I found a WHOPPER of an error in the book I’m reading.
An error so glaring, so obvious, so egregious that at first, I thought I’d misread it.
So I read it again.
And it still said the same thing.
I was flummoxed.
I won’t reveal the book’s author or title, but will say it was published in late 2019 and described as a “a compelling novel.”
The setting: It’s 1949. A 19-year-old woman is in a swimming pool.
The error: She “swam to the metal ladder and with all the grace of Ethel Merman, climbed out of the pool.”
I wondered if this was a joke, or perhaps the author was being sarcastic?
But – no.
The author got it wrong.
And not just the author – the steps in book publishing from author’s hand to bookstore also involve an editor, one or more copy editors, and then the page proofs review by the author and editor and proofreader.
A whole host of people missed the whopper:
The author said, “Ethel Merman,” but meant “Esther Williams.”
Ethel Merman (1908-1984) was an American actress and singer.
Esther Williams (1921-2013) was an American actress and swimmer.
Williams was famous for her “swimming” movies including Bathing Beauty (1944), Neptune’s Daughter (1949) and Million Dollar Mermaid (1952). She made non-swimming movies as well, but what she’s most remembered for are those swimming scenes:
Mermen was famous for her voice, described as “big” and “brash” and “powerful.” She earned the recognition of “undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage” and her performances included Annie Get Your Gun (1946), Call Me Madam (1950) and Gypsy (1959). Merman also made movies, television appearances, and record albums:
So: They were both popular actresses with long careers.
But Ethel didn’t swim.
And Esther didn’t sing.
Maybe the author associated “swimming” with “Merman” because a merman is the male equivalent of a mermaid?
Or, maybe not.
Either way, that Ethel/Esther error is out there forever. I suppose the eBook could be corrected, but all those hard copies?
I, at least, can open my blog post, click “Edit,” and fix my mistake(s).
And I will do that continually.
I mean, continuously.