Many religions are out there. Nearly every one I am aware of preaches (well, advocates anyway) tolerance, yet when things get too close to home, there is little of that tolerance to be found.

from The Political Surf on Blogs Standard

The latest issue of Currents, our digital-only opinion and culture section, is out. All subscribers to the Standard have access, so check it out. Here’s a peek at what’s in Currents: a column I wrote on the BYU Daily Universe and its “Twelve Apostates” typo and the university’s risible reaction, which included snatching papers out of kiosks, an investigation and abject apologies. Here’s the column. At the end there’s a link to Cal Grondahl’s Currents cartoon on the “Twelve Apostates” chaos. Read on!

“He who controls the present, controls the past.”
— George Orwell

“The Week” magazine had this witty blurb in its latest edition:
Bad Week for:
Typos, after a photo caption in the Brigham Young University Daily Universe erroneously referred to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church as “the Twelve Apostates.” All 18,500 copies of the newspaper were recalled, destroyed and reprinted to avoid offending church officials.”

OK, here’s my take on this silliness. I’m a former copy editor and a former Daily Universe journalist, I love that paper and BYU. (Did you spot the earlier typo on Daily?) I’ve seen just about every typo that’s out there … “beloved fiends,” “Satan Claus,” … and now “Twelve Apostates.” Typos aren’t fun, and no one likes to make a habit of them, but once the presses roll, they’re a reality. You get over it. You can even laugh about it — the first time it happens.

“Twelve Apostates” is pretty funny. I don’t know the Twelve Apostles, I’ve only met one, but I bet — just from watching LDS conference — that they probably found that particular typo pretty hilarious. Normal people do. I guess if you’re a BYU administrator or BYU Communications faculty flak, you’re too much of a humorless sourpuss to laugh off a simple typo.

Far more risible than the “Twelve Apostates” typo is the idea of teams of early-morning brigades — combinations of white-shirts, ties and sleepy students — combing the BYU perimeter and snatching 18,500 copies of the Universe off stands and kiosks.

Like Lady Macbeth, I bet many of these paper-snatchers had trouble washing the ink stains off their palms.

I gotta be honest, pre-dawn snatching of newspapers is not only risible, it’s a little bit creepy. Check out these even creepier media quotes from BYU faculty justifying the paper-snatching:

• “This shows the deep concern we have on the matter. We don’t think this error is glib or cute or humorous.” — Brad Rawlins, chairman of BYU’s Department of Corrections … oops, another typo — I mean Communications.

• “Nope, not this one. There’s no humor in it, just a sad set of circumstances.” — Rich Evans, editorial manager of the Daily Universe, as to whether the “apostates” typo would make it on a “wall of errors.”

These BYU inquisitors spent a day of student interviews and audit checks to find the perp. No wonder the poor BYU editor charged with writing “Twelve Apostates” burst into tears.

OK, I’m through commenting about BYU’s adventure with the Twelve Apostates and typos. I’m due back on Planet Earth. If you head to Provo, say hello to those administrative paper-snatchers still living on Kolob.

Here’s the link to Grondahl’s cartoon:

One of the problems with many religious entities today is that those in exalted positions are so busy carefully burnishing the propaganda that is sent out that it is never noticed how the perception falls outside their own domains. Many times the reticence that the unwashed public shows, to contact with elements of any religious entity, would disappear if more attention was paid to being genuine, instead of pompous and overly pious.


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