Posted by: Yorgos | July 8, 2008

Text 23 – Credibility

I’ve been reading a rather interesting book called Postmodern Media Culture written by someone called Jonathan Bignell. He obviously knows what he is talking about, he often cites and comments on the works of famous theorists and actually tries to raise a few issues like feminism and post-colonialism, which haven’t been studied thoroughly in relation to media studies. It does not matter if I agree with him or not (mostly I do), but he has obviously done a lot of research on the subject and I will probably use him a lot for my PhD.

Probably…

My problem is that he can’t spell the word “Nietzsche”. I’ve seen it in the book in lots of variations such as Neitzsche, Neitzche and Nietzsche (the last is the correct one, but he used it only once). Even in the index he mentions him as Neitzche. I am sure it is no big deal and that is a difficult word to spell (it always takes me a few seconds to remember the exact sequence of the consonants), but he writes a theoretical book, with which he wants to add his own suggestions and expand the spectrum of the particular field. And if he didn’t know how to spell Nietzsche, why didn’t he look it up? In the bibliography the name is nowhere, so this probably means that he relied on citations from others to write about him (all in all, Nietzsche is only mentioned in 3-4 pages).

What I want to say is this: While a spelling error is understandable (I am sure there are some in this post), when a book that you consider important is published, you should better triple check things like that. Any word processor software could have pinpointed the mistake. Any editor should be able to see not that it is misspelled, but that there are 3 different spellings within four lines. What does this say to us about the quality of the book and the credibility of the writer? Could it have been written in haste? Did he want to make the deadlines? Was the research done in the same way? What did he omit? How many of the books in the bibliography has he actually read? Perhaps the answer to all of that is to his defense, but since we don’t know and we can’t know, the credibility of the author is, at least, fragile.

Anyway, maybe I am just complaining for the sake of complaining. According to the index, Nietzsche will not be mentioned again in the book.

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Responses

  1. That’s probably more a fault of the copy editor employed by the publisher than the author…

  2. It’s not that it is just a spelling mistake. There are 3 different spellings within a paragraph. It just shows sloppiness by whomever. How can the author write it in 3 different ways in the first place?


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