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So, how do you spell it?
July 16, 2008 3:37 AM   Subscribe

Freakonomics coauthor/blogger writes about a "spelling mistake" the Economist made in a recent issue. He is corrected within 5 minutes. The Economist responds to his "correction".
posted by jourman2 (84 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by TedW at 3:43 AM on July 16, 2008


Today I learned about Murphry's Law. That was worth reading part of the linked articles.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:47 AM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Damn you (and my Cornish genes)! I need a pastie now.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:48 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Delicious and supportive! That is a technology I hope to grasp.
posted by srboisvert at 3:51 AM on July 16, 2008


Obviously the Economist meant "pastry"!!!
posted by inigo2 at 3:51 AM on July 16, 2008


Correction: The Economist was right.

Ok, will you send me one now?
posted by inigo2 at 3:51 AM on July 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Dood, Yoo lyke, totally mizpelled 'Muphry's Law'.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:53 AM on July 16, 2008


Pasty in the post. Classic.
I miss a good pasty.
If you're hunting the real thing Philps in Hayle, Cornwall is quite nice.
My favourite pasty shop closed a couple of years ago now. It was a tragedy.
posted by debord at 3:58 AM on July 16, 2008


One can only hope Dubner's theories on economics are researched more throughly than this might indicate; simply typing cornish pasties into google would have returned 184K hits, and the summary for the first - Wikipedia - would have corroborated The Economist's spelling.
posted by Mutant at 4:08 AM on July 16, 2008


How has no one remarked on the real error in that quote: In the hills north east of Mexico City...

"Northeast" is one word.
posted by DU at 4:08 AM on July 16, 2008


I thought this was gonna be about Cornish panties for sale. Darn.
posted by jbickers at 4:10 AM on July 16, 2008


I need to find some typographical "errors" about cinnamon rolls to correct.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:12 AM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wait a minute, was Tom Waits actually singing about British foodstuffs in "Pasties & A G-String?"
posted by Banky_Edwards at 4:15 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


If only he was, Banky, but it's a different pronunciation. Cornish Pasties sound like "past", Pasties-as-in-stripper-wear sound like "paste". Roughly, anyway.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 4:31 AM on July 16, 2008


Were he a true pedant, he would have first looked up "pasties" in the OED—just so he could say he had.
posted by ryanrs at 4:46 AM on July 16, 2008


Spells like team sprite.
posted by subgear at 4:55 AM on July 16, 2008


We now also know how to spell "class act". It's either Freakonomics or the Economist. Well, if you didn't already know...
posted by ewkpates at 5:00 AM on July 16, 2008


I love the way he confidently writes that "They meant to write pastries", while still being completely wrong. He knew what they meant.

Also, it's one thing to be ignorant about the delicacies of another country (although it's not as though the UK is that foreign to most USians), it's quite another to be ignorant about your own.
posted by kcds at 5:04 AM on July 16, 2008


There are many types of pasties... not all of them are Cornish.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:13 AM on July 16, 2008


You meant to write Canada there.
posted by smackfu at 5:14 AM on July 16, 2008


There's more to it.

Confronted with the error, Dubner compounded it by conjecturing, wrongly, that pasties and pastrys are etymologically related.
posted by cogneuro at 5:22 AM on July 16, 2008


The editors, sub editors, copy editors, fact checkers and proof readers at the NYTimes didn't know better? Granted, it has gone down hill badly in recent years, but still.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:30 AM on July 16, 2008


This American Life just aired an episode called "A Little Bit of Knowledge", about adults being blatantly wrong about or unaware of common knowledge bits, often learned incorrectly since childhood, and then making foolish and/or enlightening discoveries. This is a great example of modern jackass. Completely forgivable and hilarious.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:39 AM on July 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


We had the exact same thing happen at a previous job; it was a publishing website and one of our support guys forwarded around an article called "Cornish Pasties Recipe" with a subject implying it was a hilarious typo. I didn't get it and made him explain it to me. I guess he spends more time in strip clubs and less time eating tasty treats.

All the same I stopped reading Freakonomics after they removed the full feed. I'm already a NYT subscriber, dammit! They could at least give me that. Also, Steven Levy is speaking at HOPE this weekend. See you there.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:41 AM on July 16, 2008


I was just explaining "Modern Jackass" to my wife last night after I called a guy's sweatshirt in a commercial on TV a "Moorish Pattern". God I'm a jackass.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:42 AM on July 16, 2008


"Confronted with the error, Dubner compounded it by conjecturing, wrongly, that pasties and pastrys are etymologically related." - cogneuro

"the two are etymologically related" - cogneuro's link.

I think there should be a prise to the first person not to make an error in this thread.
posted by edd at 5:47 AM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Freakonomist?
posted by grubi at 5:56 AM on July 16, 2008


Yep. I said 'pastie' instead of 'pasty'. And I'm Cornish.

As penance, here's where to go for the best of the best (don't tell my mother).
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:57 AM on July 16, 2008


This thread is worthwhile if only because I learned about this "modern jackass" thing. I'm in the urban dictionary!
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 6:11 AM on July 16, 2008


Figure I'm going to write an article criticizing Apple for misspelling "Macbook Preau" and see what I get in the mail.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:12 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


If someone would have begged a question at some point in the whole affair.
posted by drezdn at 6:18 AM on July 16, 2008


One can only hope Dubner's theories on economics are researched more throughly than this might indicate; simply typing cornish pasties into google would have returned 184K hits, and the summary for the first - Wikipedia - would have corroborated The Economist's spelling.

Dubner doesn't have any economic theories — he's a journalist, not an economist. Levitt is the brains of the outfit. Simply typing Stephen Dubner into Wikipedia would have told you this.
posted by matthewr at 6:24 AM on July 16, 2008 [7 favorites]




Why modern jackass?

Bowler Hat #1: What know you of these vita-mins?
Bowler Hat #2: Quite efficacious in preventing the spread of scurvy, what ho!
Bowler Hat #1: Pray, by what ingenious contrivance is this made to occur?
Bowler Hat #2: insert pre-modern jackass line
posted by DU at 6:28 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]



If someone would have begged a question at some point in the whole affair.


That's what I get for watching the whole All Star Game...


If someone would have begged a question at some point in the whole affair, things would have went nuclear.
posted by drezdn at 6:33 AM on July 16, 2008


I wonder how I can put some tabs in a box so I can send some to these fucking reporters who keep tabulating tables with spaces.
posted by bonaldi at 6:34 AM on July 16, 2008


If someone would OF begged a question at some point in the whole affair, things would OF went nuCULAr.

FTYF
posted by DU at 6:37 AM on July 16, 2008


llo
posted by danb at 6:46 AM on July 16, 2008


A mildly amusing typo is best of the web?
posted by cellphone at 6:48 AM on July 16, 2008


The editors, sub editors, copy editors, fact checkers and proof readers at the NYTimes didn't know better? Granted, it has gone down hill badly in recent years, but still.

I think that none of those people work on the NYT Website. Many of them are annoyed at being associated with it, even in name only. Some of them are also not allowed to do anything to columnists' work in the print edition.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:49 AM on July 16, 2008


Some annoyed copy editors
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:55 AM on July 16, 2008


To add to the breastariffic double entendre - pasties for your knockers!
posted by Abiezer at 6:57 AM on July 16, 2008


Christ, what an arsehole.
posted by davemee at 6:59 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now I am seriously craving a pastie. Preferably from Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe, where I spent a large part of my childhood queueing for a meat and potato pastie and a vanilla slice. What mistake do I have to make to get The Economist to post me one of those?
posted by penguinliz at 7:04 AM on July 16, 2008


See here for a highly recommended recipe for the unfortunately named Cholera, the Vaudois answer to the pasty. I have always liked pasties and meat pies of all kinds (having been raised on tourtiere) and this is one of the very best. The recipe is accompanied by a Swiss gourmet's thoughts about the Cornish version. From FX Cuisine, king of the food bloggers.
posted by alexwoods at 7:15 AM on July 16, 2008


The Economist should have sent him that pastie after it had been digested.
posted by three blind mice at 7:15 AM on July 16, 2008


July 16, 2008

The Economist Group
The Economist Building
111 West 57th Street
New York
NY 10019
USA

Sir,
     On behalf of all right thinking people everywhere allow me to congratulate you on your victory. You will delight to hear that you have won a prize of One (1) Internet. You may confirm your receipt of this notification and retrieve your prize at one of our many branch locations.

Sincerely,
Skorgu Eatbagadicks
Accounts Manager
The Internets Inc. LLC PLC

It's Prussian.
posted by Skorgu at 7:22 AM on July 16, 2008


A mildly amusing typo is best of the web? --cellphone

I was thinking the same, but The Economist's response makes the post for me. Very well played on their part.

Also, obligatory xkcd link.
posted by Bugg at 7:25 AM on July 16, 2008


If someone would have begged a question at some point in the whole affair, things would have went nuclear.

If someone had begged.....
posted by longsleeves at 7:29 AM on July 16, 2008


I need to find some typographical "errors" about cinnamon rolls to correct.

Jacqueline, you must have meant cinnamon roles, i.e., the various tasks and responsbilities that people involved in the cinnamon industry have to carry out.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:52 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, you were right, Jacqueline; my mistake! (I can has sinamin rolz nau?)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:53 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man makes a mistake. Full coverage, plus Norm with the 5-day, at 11.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:07 AM on July 16, 2008


I am sure glad that NPR defined/coined the term "modern jackass." I am also sure that 90% of my high school class can imagine my picture next to the definition. I got better. But it is still a family trait, and when klangklangston & I get together, it can be confusing to outsiders as to who is the bigger more modern jackass.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:07 AM on July 16, 2008


YANKZONE
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on July 16, 2008


For as much as my Economist subscription costs I with they'd send me a Cornish pasty every once in a while.
posted by omarr at 8:42 AM on July 16, 2008


I'd hit it.
posted by The Straightener at 8:42 AM on July 16, 2008


This is, hopefully, a mistake free post.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:47 AM on July 16, 2008


Poor Freakonomist, all he needed to do was whip out some post hoc defense for his mistake.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:56 AM on July 16, 2008


Er, wish. Damnit.
posted by omarr at 9:02 AM on July 16, 2008


Those two are nothing but a waste of time.
posted by Zambrano at 9:14 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


What kind of fucking provincial moron doesn't know what a Cornish pasty is? This guy is supposedly educated and not only has he never come across one (they LITTER Wisconsin and upper Michigan and I'm sure they're available all over North America- right? We have pasties in supermarkets here in Alberta), but when he sees the word he doesn't even bother to look it up?

Myles Teddywedger is spinning in his grave.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:25 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


ethnomethodologist , no, the whole Cornish pasty thing seems to end in Wisconsin. I've lived in Illinois for quite some time and I've never seen one here, but maybe they'll invade? I've noticed that cheese curds seem to be spreading south.
posted by melissam at 9:27 AM on July 16, 2008


Someone made a mistake, thinking someone else had made a mistake, and when corrected, they're gracious, as are the people whom he thought had made a mistake but had not. In the process, a bunch of people learn something interesting.

How is this interesting, exactly?

Oh, yeah -- because usually the media is full of immature people attacking one another and making a big deal over absolutely nothing at all.
posted by davejay at 9:34 AM on July 16, 2008


What kind of fucking provincial moron doesn't know what a Cornish pasty is? This guy is supposedly educated and not only has he never come across one (they LITTER Wisconsin and upper Michigan and I'm sure they're available all over North America- right? We have pasties in supermarkets here in Alberta), but when he sees the word he doesn't even bother to look it up?

Ah, just like that, yes. That's more like it.

lived in Illinois, lived in California, travel a lot, have never encountered one of these in my life
posted by davejay at 9:35 AM on July 16, 2008


How is this interesting, exactly?

The mistake itself is interesting, at least to some of us. I wasn't really aware of the word, nor its pronunciation. I like the (incorrecct) correction in that it was dead on (it was indeed a pastry) yet dead wrong.

The give and take was well done and amusing.

The visibility and reputations of the hosts added some to the amusment.

I guess I am easily amused.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:51 AM on July 16, 2008


I'm with you davejay. I am familiar with pasties having lived in England but I've never seen them in any of the states I've lived in - California, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas - so I don't think it's a dish a lot of people are familiar with.

I'm in Texas now and what the hell is a kolache? They're everywhere here. A hot dog baked inside a bun (pigs in a blanket?). What the hell?
posted by shoesietart at 9:52 AM on July 16, 2008


The big revelation here for me is that this Freakonomics guy is the worst, most boring blog writer I have ever read. "I noticed some typos today?" Really? Not even a larger point. Just "hey, some typos. huh." Not to mention the fact that he actually used the phrase "Yum!" in earnest.
posted by shmegegge at 9:55 AM on July 16, 2008


What kind of fucking provincial moron doesn't know what a Cornish pasty is?

Indeed. Even people who've never seen one in the wild should know that they are British empanadas.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:21 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


True Story: Dubner once laughed at me because I mispronounced ephemeral.
posted by william_boot at 10:50 AM on July 16, 2008


Hey, I have done that too and got laughed at, but only by my g/f and another friend. I have no famous people to laugh at me.

My parents worked hard to make me a lot better educated then them (and succeeded). Additionally, I was brought up sans TV. So, I ended up reading a lot of books, building an excellent vocabulary but not having the slightest clue as to how a great deal of words were pronounced. That sticks with me today. My worst every was a "Yosemite", which I pronounced something like "Yo see might". I knew 1000x more about the park (I was a big fan) than the guy who laughed at me (who still like, BTW), but had never heard the word, except for Yosemite Sam, but I didn't make the association. Some embarrassment, there.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:08 AM on July 16, 2008


I used to work with someone would occasionally talk about how her doctor told her she shouldn't drink anything with "as-par-ta-me" in it. The first time she said it I just got confused, but I never corrected her. No one else did either.
posted by puke & cry at 12:11 PM on July 16, 2008


That guy needs to get out more.
posted by tkchrist at 12:21 PM on July 16, 2008


Maybe some folks are missing the link where the magazine mailed him a pasty? That's not cool enough for you? Also, what Bovine Love said.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 12:34 PM on July 16, 2008


"Confronted with the error, Dubner compounded it by conjecturing, wrongly, that pasties and pastrys are etymologically related." - cogneuro

"the two are etymologically related" - cogneuro's link.

I think there should be a prise to the first person not to make an error in this thread.


uh huh. what's the error? If you're referring to the use of pasties as the plural of pasty (a food) vs. pastie (a body ornament), the former usage has been in the language for a while:

OED: 1566 W. ADLINGTON tr. Apuleius Golden Asse xlv. f. 107, Bread pasties, tartes, custardes, & other delicate ionckettes dipped in honie.

Some other problem?
posted by cogneuro at 12:47 PM on July 16, 2008


My mom's a Wisconsinite and made pasties, pot pies, and beef stew a lot when I was a kid; they all seemed suspiciously similar. She also made Danish, which aren't called Danish in Denmark (they have another country of origin that I can't recall), while my wife's mom is Czech and makes kolaches from time to time...the Texas/fast food kolache is not quite authentic though you can typically get a rough approximation so long as it ain't stuffed inside; instead imagine a mildly sweet dough, configured like a Danish with a dollop of cottage cheese mixture / poppy seed filling / fruit ON the center of the disc.
posted by aydeejones at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2008


I still can't get over people never having heard of pasties. I don't even know when I first encountered them, so it must have been one of those things I learned young enough to not remember it. And I grew up in Massachusetts, with no Cornish or British connections at all.

This all makes me wonder what delicious foods I have unaccountably never heard of.
posted by rusty at 2:32 PM on July 16, 2008


Why does he go on to call it a "pie"? It's not a fucking pie, it's a pastie, that's the whole point! And why do Americans call pizzas "pies" as well? What is wrong with you people? Why does everything boil down to pie?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:49 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


mmmmm! pie.
posted by cillit bang at 4:06 PM on July 16, 2008


I'm in Texas now and what the hell is a kolache? They're everywhere here. A hot dog baked inside a bun (pigs in a blanket?). What the hell?

Dude, go to the Czech Stop in West, Texas, right on I35. Buy assorted kolaches and eat them. You will think you've died and gone to heaven. Meat- or fruit-filled.
posted by neuron at 5:22 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


If only Xeni Jardin had mailed a pasty to Violet Blue....
posted by lukemeister at 9:24 PM on July 16, 2008


"It seems strange that “pastry” would become “pasties,” but I guess no more strange than “Margaret” becoming “Peggy.”"

I was puzzled by this. What does he think it would be made of?
Perhaps a pasty is a pie with a jelly shell?
posted by debord at 3:51 AM on July 17, 2008


81 comments and no one said anything about him eating humble pie?
posted by Dave Faris at 6:47 AM on July 17, 2008


Because it's hard to eat humble pie with your foot in your mouth.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:37 PM on July 17, 2008


cogneuro: yeah. You're saying that Dubner was wrong to say they're related, and support this by linking to a page that explicitly says they are related.
posted by edd at 12:39 AM on July 21, 2008


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