The BT Brand of Journalism

The errata column in newspapers and magazines can be entertaining. But the most inane of these has got to be the coy little "Oops" column in the unabashedly sensationalistic Bombay Times, which tries hard to give the impression that its editors are a bunch of apologetic perfectionists — and fails miserably.

Here are some examples of the Brave New Face of Journalism That Readily Acknowledges Mistakes:

In the Popkorn Poll, "Skillful Shweta" (BT, Aug 22, page 3), skillful has been wrongly spelt as skilful. The error is regretted.

All dictionaries accept both variants; skillful is more common in American English, and that's about it. Skilful is actually preferable since BT follows British usage. (What exactly BT follows is anybody's guess. Numerology, perhaps?)

In the article "Sophie to play an item girl" (BT, Aug 29, page 10), the actor's surname was misspelt as Choudhary when it should have been Choudry. The error is regretted.

Fair enough. But what about this:

In the item "Sharon paints the town black and white" (BT, Aug 29, page 5), Poonam Bijlani has been wrongly identified as Rima S. The error is regretted.

I'd never have guessed. But wait, there's more:

In the article "I think it's my stupid sense of humour that clicks" (BT, Sep 4, page 2), Tanaaz Lall has been spelt as Tanaaz Laal. The error is regretted.

They way celebrities keep changing the way they spell their names has become an epidemic — and not just in Bollywood. How can the poor overworked editors be expected to keep track of all the Suneils and Karienas and Rosshans and Irrrfans and Jhonny-come-latelys out there? Something's gotta give.

Think name changes are silly? How about a sex change?

In the article "I won't go nuts if I'm not in the news" (BT, Aug 29, page 1), Manisha Koirala has been spelt as Manish Koirala in one place. The error is regretted.

Maybe she grew some nuts instead?

In the Astro column (BT, Aug 31, page 4), there is a full stop missing at the end of the prediction for the zodiacs sign Taurus. The error is regretted.

Wow — what a whopper of a gaffe. Good you spotted it in time, BT, or this error of Taurean proportions might have gotten me seven years of bad luck. But what on earth is a "zodiacs sign"?

In the article, "Is politics taking a back seat for Govinda?" (BT, Aug 31, page 2), a semicolon has been used instead of a comma in the pull-quote. The error is regretted.

Such perfectionism! I decided to check out the Govinda article, and found that the semicolon was used in place of an apostrophe (not a comma). Clearly the BT editor doesn't know the difference. An error in an error acknowledgement? Remarkable.

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By Golly, it's a Rum Deal!

Enid Blyton Nancy Wake
Who's genuine? The original Enid Blyton (left) or Mumbai Mirror's dead ringer (right)?

Once upon a time there was a writer called Enid Blyton. In an era devoid of attractions such as Fickleodeon and Craptoon Network, all children could do on the weekends was read. And Blyton, despite her limited vocabulary and dated Briticisms, quickly found a place in our hearts. Talk to ten middle-aged Indians who are proud of their English, and eight would admit they grew up reading Blyton.

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The politics of friending and unfriending (Part I)

I looked at my LJ profile page the other day and saw that my ‘friends’ list has 110 names, while my ‘friend of’ list has topped 100 (105, to be precise). I also noticed that a few people had added me whom I’d forgotten to add back, so after that was set right, I now have 114 friends. But numbers aren’t everything, right? Yeah, right.

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How NOT to pick up women — or men

Many years ago, I chose what I thought was a perfectly innocuous username for Yahoo chat (my name spelt in reverse), but soon realised that sounding vaguely asexual is no defence against the A/S/L brigade. Having nothing better to do, and tiring of memes, I decided to see how long it would take three ardent young men to get the message, without being expressly told to take a hike.

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Sixes and sevens

I hate memes. They represent everything that's unoriginal and inane and faddish. The OED defines a meme as "a self-replicating element of culture, passed on by imitation". By that definition, religions have got to be the most successful memes ever propagated. Enough said.

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Why I don't update

Top Ten Reasons Why I Don't Update My Journal

10. I haven't read a book or seen a new movie in months.

9. Most music sounds like noise, and I don't have a single MP3 on my PC.

8. I dislike memes, especially the kind that go "What Color of Vomit Are You?"

7. My love life is considerably less exciting than the Pope's.

6. I never have conflicts or showdowns with my boss or colleagues.

5. I consider gossip either pointless or malicious, so nobody shares any with me.

4. Linking to weird news headlines doesn't seem so cool anymore.

3. I'm unable to come up with any satisfactorily mystifying one-liners.

2. I can't write poetry — good, bad or indifferent — to save my life.

1. It's easier to leave a smartass comment than to make a journal entry.
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Attention jayasankarvs, veenven, patrodz, charlesj, itsjoy, pratibha75, deelight, radhika74

How about catching up at my place this Saturday or Sunday around 7 pm to bid farewell to old pal jayasankarvs? We can take a poll on who's free and who's not, and decide accordingly. Details on how to reach the venue will be posted soon, as soon as we agree on the date.

PS: There's a big bottle of vanilla-flavoured Smirnoff and half a bottle of Old Monk, plus a liquor shop around the corner, so drinks shouldn't be a problem. Purists BYOB. Menu will be strictly non-vegetarian, unless someone requests otherwise.
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