Typos in the Museum

The Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL) is traveling across the U.S. trying to stamp out public typos. They just wound up at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, which is currently exhibiting “Sex and Sensibility”, about ten female cartoonists and their work about love.

The TEAL group was not pleased. (Scroll down past the part about Starbucks.)

It highlighted the work of ten female cartoonists and included detailed biographies for all of them. And the museum had somehow managed to make a few f**kups in just about all of the bios. The first and second typos I found just amused me, but by the sixth or seventh or eighth, I had become genuinely angry on behalf of these cartoonists. This was supposed to be their big moment of recognition. But the museum had shat out its signage rather than taking the time to present it properly.

Much more detail in the link. The museum rep, when made aware of all this, first blamed a high school intern, then a book of source material (which, upon investigation, turns out not to have the same errors).

I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the museum, but I’ve heard good things about them. I hope that they’re able to remedy these problems relatively quickly.

11 Responses to “Typos in the Museum”

  1. Tim O'Shea Says:

    Please give your readers the “inflated sense of self” warning before linking to this blog again. :)

    “I confronted the woman at the front desk of the place and asked to speak with the curator of the Sex and Sensibility exhibit. I explained that the biographies were riddled with typos. At first her reaction was defensive.”

    I can’t imagine why the reaction was defensive…

    I envision fellow museum visitors looking at the TEAL team as it documented their “evidence” with a bewildered gaze…as others continued to enjoy the overall museum experience by being able to see the forest for the trees.

    I was glad to see this was not the first time you blogged about the museum (http://comicsworthreading.com/2006/09/14/spark-generators-2/)

    But the random links generator is a tad confusing on this one, given that it links to a post about a completely different cartoon museum on that first one (http://comicsworthreading.com/2007/07/09/two-quick-links-fbofw-cartoon-museum/).

  2. Tommy Raiko Says:

    For what it’s worth, TEAL and its founder Jeff Deck were featured on ABC News not too long ago:


    Deck’s combination of quirky blog + understandable mission + some mainstream news coverage makes me think that he will surely have a book deal soon. Hope he gets the best copyeditor in the business!

  3. Johanna Says:

    Tim, you’ve reminded me of how my daddy used to say you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. (To which the answer is who wants flies?) And there used to be more than one Cartoon Museum.

  4. Josh Roberts Says:

    Tim, I was with Jeff when he confronted the museum girl about the typos present, and he was very polite about it. In his writing, he often condenses the spoken word to eliminate redundancy, but he is never curt or rude. He approaches with a positive attitude and eagerness to help, which I think comes across better in real life than in the writing.

    The defensive girl, however, was covering for her own mistakes and flat out lied to avoid dealing with a problem she may or may not have directly created in her office. While the “intern” may have made some mistakes, she admitted to making some of the signs with the mistakes herself, but rather than being the big person and owing up to her mistakes, she attempted to disown them. From a pure work-ethic viewpoint, this irks me more than the typos ever could have. If she had merely said, “thank you for pointing them out, but fixing them would be impossible at this time. we will try harder next time,” then Jeff and I would have been ok with that. I would say it was she, rather than Jeff Deck, who was defending her own inflated sense of self.

    Of course, we are all entitled to our own opinions, I just wanted to give my impression as someone who was there when every word was spoken.

  5. Jennifer de Guzman Says:

    That’s sad. I always am so mortified when there are typos or misspellings in anything new we publish. It’s the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, seriously. Unfortunately, I can’t pulp 3000 books and reprint them because of a typo. This looks like it’s much more manageable — I hope the curator decides to fix it, especially with the negative impression it’s getting. I would have noticed the mistakes in the signs, though I probably wouldn’t have mentioned anything. It would have given me a somewhat negative impression. I daresay that’s true of many museum-goers.

  6. Jennifer de Guzman Says:

    Err, I meant, “negative attention it’s getting.”

  7. Andrew Farago Says:

    The typographical errors in question were brought to my attention yesterday, and have been corrected. Unfortunately, due to simple human oversight, we provided our local copy shop with an uncorrected version of our exhibition text, and until our patrons pointed out this mistake, we were, for obvious reasons, unable to take actions to correct it.

    Please rest assured that we strive to be as professional as possible here at the Cartoon Art Museum, and we will be all the more diligent with our future exhibitions.

    Andrew Farago


    What really annoys me about this whole incident is that museum-goer in question chose to write an angry, accusatory tirade on his blog instead of sending me an email about the issue in the first place (something that he encouraged all of his readers to do, but which he himself did not).

    We made a mistake, yes, and had it been pointed out to us sooner, we would have addressed it sooner. To post a blog entry that may or may not *ever* come to my attention helps no one.

  8. Johanna Says:

    Thank you for addressing the issue. I sympathize with your frustration over how it was handled, but assuming his story about being treated dismissively by staff was true, I understand why he wouldn’t think continuing to pursue that avenue personally would be fruitful.

  9. Andrew Farago Says:

    I have sincere doubts that our weekend staff treated Mr. Deck with anything but the utmost courtesy. I’m sorry if she seemed to be reacting defensively, but she, like all of us at the museum, takes her job very seriously, and was most likely distressed to learn about the errors in the exhibition text.

    I’ve been doing this job for nearly eight years, and I probably would have responded a bit differently if I’s been in her situation. She’s held this job for four months, and I will definitely provide her with feedback about her response to make sure that she’s adequately prepared if anything like this should happen in the future.

    Again, while I regret the errors and take full accountability for them, I’d much rather have had the opportunity to explain this to Mr. Deck through a polite exchange of emails than the manner in which this all played out.

  10. Tim O'Shea Says:

    Josh, I respect your first-hand perspective on this. I’m sure how it was summarized in the blog versus how it happened in real time were vastly different. Your explanation gives greater context of one side of the story.

    Johanna, I have to be honest and admit I view taking to blogs to air grievances without exhausting traditional channels leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    In this case it really leaves a bad taste in my mouth, because rather than trying to get Andrew’s take on the situation, TEAL made this call to action to “drop Andrew Farago a line at [edited out] and let him know how great it would be if the Cartoon Art Museum cleaned up its signs in the Sex and Sensibility exhibition. Or call … (edited to save Farago further hassles)… Perhaps hearing from a farrago of concerned citizens would help him to make the right decision.”

    How quaint, mock the guy’s last name (a hodgepodge of concerned citizens? ha ha…not) in your call to action. Again, a double shot of vinegar in my book.

    Here’s my problem, the situation has been resolved, but here’s this blog still telling people to call Andrew–and as Andrew points out in a reply at the TEAL post:

    “Mr. Deck had a complaint, he made his complaint, his complaint was resolved, and I’d rather not have to deal with the vitriolic and speculative emails that are still trickling into my inbox from people who aren’t aware that the situation has been resolved. The more time I spend dealing with dead issues, the less time I have to spend on other, more important work.”

    There was an initial snark to the TEAL post that annoyed me, and seeing what the call to action has wrought, I think I’m justified in not really being impressed with TEAL’s manner of handling this particular situation. I concede that the museum staff could have handled things far better in the initial response, but I think TEAL could have handled it better by actually contacting Farago before the call to action.

    But as Josh also notes: “we are all entitled to our own opinions”

    And, for those of you wondering, no I’m not a pal of the museum or Farago or Shaenon Garrity.

  11. odessa steps magazine Says:

    I agree with Jennifer about the horror of finding typos in printed materials.

    I learned a valuable lesson about proofreading and typos when I not only had spelled someone’s name wrong in our first book, but I had the shame of having it pointed out by the person in question.

    (the sad part is that I had seen the person’s name in print for years and had been writing wrong all along and never noticed, due to a combination of double letters in their name and bad wiring in my brain.)




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