Amreica is Grate!

Ah, the art of writing! From elegant multi-volume novels to a well-distilled Tweet, the written (and spoken) word is lauded with grand awards while somehow simultaneously dismissed as something that can be done by anyone. But while just about anyone can use language to communicate, it can be glaringly obvious when there’s something… missing.

Copyeditors, prepare your red pens: I present to you this official inauguration poster for our new president, issued by the Library of Congress and, until last night, available for purchase in their online shop.

Two is too many to spell correctly.
photo: Library of Congress

“No dream is too big, no challenge is to great. Nothing we want for the future is beyond our reach.”

Students of elementary school English classes across the globe, having been drilled with the differences between  “two,” “too,” and “to,”are either cringing in embarrassment or cackling with glee that their errors can no longer be marked down. After all, the AMERICAN PRESIDENT does it, too!

All the more embarrassing, the description of the poster stated that “this print captures the essence of Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency of the United States.” Oh dear, does it?

The page selling the poster in the Library’s online store was removed last night, presumably after the mistake was noticed. Web archives still show the blunder.

Sure, everyone makes mistakes. But when they’re made on such a grand scale, people will notice. When they are made repeatedly, more people notice. It becomes a pattern. And although it’s only been a few weeks, this isn’t a first for those newly come to power.

In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 208th birthday, the GOP quoted the esteemed former president on Twitter as having said: “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Which would be great, if he’d actually said it. (He didn’t.)

"Also, love the one you're with."

And our newly-confirmed Secretary of Education may or may not be responsible for the “creative” writing found in a Tweet from the U. S. Department of Education that misspelled the name of W. E. B. Du Bois.

"What Ever, Bro."
At least they attributed him with something he actually said.

The Department of Education then followed up with some creative grammar in their apology, which they later corrected.

The bigliest apologizes.

And particularly with February being Black History month and all, this mistake received a significant amount of (pointed, shade-rich) response.

Are there bigger things to worry about? Most certainly. But it’s small slip-ups like these that often make one wonder what else is being overlooked. If the most basic grammatical errors are disregarded in the way leaders present themselves in public, then how much attention to detail can we expect from these leaders when it comes to bigger decisions? What else is being disregarded in haste?

I know there’s a been push for small government from the redder side of the political spectrum, but perhaps the services of a copyeditor wouldn’t go amiss.


Beth Voigt

Beth is a graphic designer in Chicago, a superhero in her own mind, and absolutely nothing on TV. She wrangles fonts professionally, pummels code amateurishly, and has been known to shove fire in her face for fun. Fond of volunteering, late-night bursts of productivity, and making snacks, she dislikes grocery shopping and sticky public transit and is only on her second smartphone. Her opinion is that you should try everything twice; if you don't like it, you were probably doing it wrong the first time around. If external links are your thing, here are links to Twitter and Instagram, and you can support her ongoing weirdness by buying her a coffee or six.

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  1. Beth Voigt,

    If it wasn’t for everything else that makes me ashamed that Trump is our president now, this would.

  2. Inspiring further confidence: the White House website.

    “The White House has posted inaccurate texts of President Trump’s own executive orders on the White House website, raising further questions about how thorough the Trump administration has been in drafting some of his most controversial actions.”

    Story >>


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