Off the Soapbox

Yeah, so you know how I feel about politics. Time to rant about something else for a while, I think.

Today I'd like to talk about this article. An artist was commissioned to create a mural for a library in California. The concept was enlightenment. The artist is a former school teacher here in Florida. The finished mural contains 11 misspelled names, including Shakespeare, Van Gogh and Einstein.

The artist is furious with the public for focusing on the mistakes, and not the big picture, which, she says, is that if you follow the words into the library, you can learn something.

Huh? A mural advertising enlightenment and education has eleven mistakes (a mural, I need to remind you, that was produced by a former school teacher) and the public (who paid for that artwork) is supposed to just say: OK. Kewl.?

I just want to bitch slap that woman into next week. And I can't even tell you what makes me crazier: that she can't spell, that she didn't even think to look up the names if she wasn't sure of the spelling, that she thinks her mistakes are negligable, that she is so arrogant in her ignorance, or that her whole attitude buys into the popular myth that artists are inferior intellectually.

Mistakes don't matter? I shouldn't have to correct them, because someone else should have seen them? (Well, she has a point there, someone should have seen them, but that doesn't relieve her of her own responsibility.) The point isn't about spelling, but about art?

Am I the last person in America with a sense of pride in my work?
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/15 at 12:13 PM in As I See It Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/15 at 12:13 PM in What the Fuck is Wrong With You People

(6) Comments
#1. Posted by Jodi on October 15, 2004

Absolutely deplorable.

P.S.  Did you misspell “negligible” on purpose, for effect?

#2. Posted by Miz Shoes on October 15, 2004

No. I misspelled it because I’m illiterate, and still haven’t figured out the spell check in Movable Type.

#3. Posted by Miss Bliss on October 15, 2004

GAH! I HATE that crap SO much!  I had a college theatre professor who was the WORST kind of feminist/artist there is, in my opinion.  The sort who makes excuses for poor performance and lack of organization because of being a creative woman.  She literally told me that she couldn’t stick to a rehearsal schedule because she had a circular thought pattern. She even had the gall to be dismissive of Lillian Hellman’s talent because she, “wrote like a man”.  Needless to say I didn’t bother to pay much attention in her class.

#4. Posted by patricia on October 15, 2004

please. IF (and that’s a big if) she’d misspelled the words on purpose then maybe I could understand it. But to take such a blase attitude about the mistakes is wrong and infuriating. If I were the person responsible for paying her, I’d withold some of the money. Shoddy work shouldn’t be rewarded, no matter the medium.

#5. Posted by Wink on October 16, 2004

Wait.  They’re paying her to fix the mistake?  Like, if I was to fail a test, and get an A on it, and then go back to correct all the errors I made and get another A?!?!
In her defense, the English Spelling system has no system, but seeing as most of the names are foreign, Chica should have no problem figuring out how to open a dictionary, or google two words for Chrissake.

#6. Posted by Sherri on October 17, 2004

This is wrong is so many ways, I can just feel my blood pressure rising. And I don’t buy the “English has no spelling system” defense either—-sorry, Wink!  Names can never be counted on to follow a “regular” spelling system. Which is why names should always be researched for proper spelling.

Of course, here’s another curmudgeonly-like thought: I’d bet a nickel that each on of those misspelled names could be found somewhere on the I-net. Back when I was teaching Frosh Writing, I had to do monthly performance-art rants on the topics of: “just cos you see it on the Internet don’t mean it’s true” and “you have to distinguish your trustworthy sources from the sketchy ones.”

Le sigh.

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