I’ve been having this three-year dialogue with a newspaper writer of radio and television issues. Back in June 2002, he noted that the word “dramedy” first came into use in describing “Ally McBeal” in 1997 in the media. This set off an alarm in my brain, which happens every time I read something in the newspaper or see something on TV or hear something on the radio that I know to be incorrect. (So you can just imagine what happens when I hear deliberate lies, which is why I don’t often listen to talk radio, or Presidential press conferences.)
I went into the archives of HIS newspaper and found this headline:
NEW HALF-HOUR ‘DRAMEDIES’ SPELL PROMISE
It cited Hooperman, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, and Slap Maxwell as dramedies.
He wrote back:
“You are the man.
The man with a lot of free time, but the man nonetheless.
I will remember this down the road. Thanks.”
(Actually, it didn’t take that long. I wouldn’t have looked it up had I not already pretty well known the outcome.)
So, I was actually mildly distressed when he made the SAME ERROR a couple weeks ago.
Naturally, as a librarian, an information specialist, I could not sit by idly.
“I bring this up YET AGAIN because you made mention in your column of ‘dramedy’ starting in 1997 with Ally Mac, which JUST AIN’T the case.”
Being the thorough sort, I even gave him a link to check out.
After he acknowledged his error, I wrote: “I won’t bug you again until the next time you mess up.” To which he said, “OK, I’ll hear from you tomorrow.”
Once something sees print, information is often taken as fact by somebody else. “The sun revolves around the earth.” “Cooperstown is the birthplace of baseball.” “There were WMDs in Iraq.” Read it, or hear it often enough, and people will actually start to believe it.
So all of you whose websites or blogs I’ve offered friendly corrections from time to time, please don’t take it the wrong way. It’s a librarian disease, and there is no cure, except accuracy.
Conversely, if I make an error in fact, I’d l’d like to know about it so I can fix it. Really. (If I make what you feel is an error in opinion, you can tell me about that too, but it may not, OK, probably won’t change anything.)