A highlight this week for many was the Mitt Romney campaign's hilarious misspelling of America, which appeared, instead, as Amercia, spurring laughs and, obviously, a meme in short order. Because if there's one thing 2012 Amercia loves, it's to feel smarter than a potential president (or anyone), and one easy way to feel smarter than other people is to spell better than they do—and to catch their mistakes, and point out their clear stupidity at having made them.
Except, the problem is, ever greater numbers of us—even in such esteemed publications as The New Yorker, even regarding such established celebrity names as Katharine Hepburn (it's an "a" in the second syllable, not an "e") are making copy mistsakes dayley.* This has caught the attention of Merrill Perlman, who writes the "Language Corner" blog for Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and is a former editor at The New York Times. It's something she knows all to well. So today a post by her appears on CNN.com, a news organization not immune to the typo itself, because who is? In her piece, Perlman bemoans the lack of copy editors in contemporary journalism, from print to Web to TV. To support her thesis, she includes an amusing slideshow of the kinds of typos one is likely to find not only in journalism but on menus (buttscotch liqueur, anyone?), on product packaging, and so on. Everywhere you look where there are words, there are likely to be more and more mistakes. There's really no sign of it stopping. It's terrfying.