What Do You Mean We Have To Sink The Bismarck Again?

 

My Mom and Dad met when they were reporters for the El Paso Times.  After they married, my father became a correspondent* for the Associated Press in New Mexico.  My mother worked as a police reporter, stringer, and photographer until my father became AP bureau chief.

She still reads two physical newspapers every day.  During a visit last week, she handed me this clipping, asking “How did that happen?”

I glanced at the clipping and started to tell her what I knew about the history of the Bismarck, the battle of Denmark Strait, and the final sinking of the German ship.   She stopped me and said, “No, I wanted to know how it sank another ship three days after it had been sunk itself.”  I looked more closely at the clipping and saw the mistake.  “Oh,” I said, “they should have written ‘earlier’ instead of ‘later.'”

Even though she had not been a newspaperman since the 1970’s, she was still able to spot this one mistake.  I guess you never lose your skills.**

Surprisingly, even though she had lived through those times, she had no knowledge of the events described in the clipping.  I won’t fault her for that.  When the Bismarck was sunk, she was a young girl in a small town in rural Texas.  She didn’t turn twelve until December 7th of that year.

   * My father hated the word ‘journalist,’ corrected anyone who called him that, and refused to hire anyone with a journalism degree.  His degree was in history.***

   ** Please don’t ask me to arrest someone or start a line when I’m 91.

   *** I’ll bet he knew about the sinking of the Bismarck.

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  1. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    JosePluma, Local Man of Mystery: Even though she had not been a newspaperman since the 1970’s, she was still able to spot this one mistake.  I guess you never lose your skills.**

    She reads in chunks, and trusts the next layer just below her attention to alert her.

    • #1
  2. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Far too many commas as well. 

    • #2
  3. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    JosePluma, Local Man of Mystery:  * My father hated the word ‘journalist,’ corrected anyone who called him that, and refused to hire anyone with a journalism degree.  His degree was in history.***

    For many years I have been in favor of instituting that as a reform across the board, retroactively.  Now I have been vindicated.  

    • #3
  4. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Far too many commas as well.

    I’d say it has the right number of commas, but a crucial one is in the wrong place. To be grammatical, it should be:

    On this date in 1941, the British Royal Navy sank the German battleship Bismarck off France, with a loss of some 2,000 lives. Three days later, the Bismarck sank the HMS Hood, with the loss of more than 1,400 lives.

    It’s still badly written and factually incorrect, but at least now there’s no comma splice. And now that it’s grammatical, the inherent anachronism becomes even harder to miss.

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I’ve seen so many grammatical mistakes and spelling errors in AP articles these days, nothing would surprise me . . .

    • #5
  6. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    My father was named after the ship that helped disable the Bismarck.  

    • #6
  7. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Stad (View Comment):

    I’ve seen so many grammatical mistakes and spelling errors in AP articles these days, nothing would surprise me . . .

    Stop reading AP articles, problem solved.

    • #7