Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beef Panties

Spell Check always did anger me.

This article is the perfect example, from over at Revealing Errors, of how spell checker messes us up. Apparently Reuters posted a story that proclaimed the recalling of beef panties. What are beef panties, you ask? Well, in short, I have no idea, nor do I want to know. The whole idea goes something like this:
Quaker Maid Meats Inc. on Tuesday said it would voluntarily recall 94,400 pounds of frozen ground beef panties that may be contaminated with E. coli.

Of course the article was talking about beef patties, not beef panties.

This error can be blamed, at least in part, on a spellchecker. I talked about spellcheckers before when I discussed the Cupertino effect which happens when someone spells a word correctly but is prompted to change it to an incorrect word because the spellchecker does not contain the correct word in its dictionary. The Cupertino effect explains why the New Zealand Herald ran a story with Saddam Hussein's named rendered as Saddam Hussies and Reuters ran a story referring to Pakistan's Muttahida Quami Movement as the Muttonhead Quail Movement.
Hardy har har. Snortle snort. Silly spell checker results make us chuckle, but also sorry, very very sorry in the case of big news organizations that publish stories about beef panties. I myself get frustrated over words like globalized, rhetor, and problemetized. Spell checker is bad for language, very very bad.

And yet, I so spell checked this post. Hypocrite, I am.

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