If you make factual errors, how can I believe you?

OK, perhaps it isn’t that bad, but in some ways it is. On of my friends used to always claim that if she read a story in the newspaper that she had any background on, she found it riddled with errors. She found that to be a good reason for not reading the news. I had another friend who would copy-edit the newspaper, marking it up as she went along, finding grammatical errors. Same friend said she had to stop reading a book (well, several books) because of the grammatical errors.

I hadn’t run into quite that before. Oh, I have seen things in the newspaper, such as the wrong name for the road that I live on, being talked about, and I’ve just shrugged my shoulders, and looked to see if a correction appeared the next day, which it didn’t. But, I didn’t stop reading the paper, as it is the only place to get local news, which is why, other than reading the comics, I get a newspaper.

But what stopped me the other day, and annoyed me enough to write about it, was a book that I picked up at the Asian Art museum a few weeks ago, when I went to see the exhibit  about Tezuka, the artist who invented Astro Boy (which closed on Sept. 9th) Anyway, I picked up several books, among them one on shoja manga (girl’s comics in Japan).

The book, put together as what appears to be a project by college students was OK. Not that well written, but OK. I figured although I knew a lot about manga in general, I didn’t know about shojo manga, so this might be fun to read.

I was struggling along with the academic style when I came across the said error that stopped me in my tracks. The author of the section had used millennia to mean not a thousand years, but 100 years. I stopped short. What, what was he talking about. This made no sense, with all he had said before. I kept trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, hoping that perhaps he did mean 1000 years, but realizing as I kept reading that he didn’t. I couldn’t finish the article or the book. It stopped being well researched for me, as the error glared out at me.

So, I finally understood what my friends meant, about an error changing everything.


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