September 9, 2004
Adjust the 'Ph' Balance, please

Butler75.jpgHell just got a little bit more crowded, according to today's New York Times.

Richard G. Butler, founder of Aryan Nations, died at age 86. (Not to be mistaken with Richard Butler, the former UNSCOM chairman who warned us about Saddam's phantom W.M.D.'s.)

According to the Times's Daniel Wakin (Richard G. Butler, 86, Founder of the Aryan Nations, Dies), Butler, who had congestive heart failture, died in his sleep in Hayden, Idaho. No word on how much drawn-out, agonizing pain the old man endured or his karmic fate as a furrier's mink in his next life.

The reason I point towards this piece is to address one of my biggest pet peeves: the misspelling of Adolf Hilter's Hitler's [Thanks, Matt!] name. According to Wakin, Butler, "lived out his final years in a house adorned with crosses, relics and books about Adolph Hitler and Holocaust denial."

Sure, we all make mistakes, but this is one that seems to occur so often in publications it's like a strange, unshakable tick. One possible excuse may be Microsoft Word's spell-check preference for "Adolph" over "Adolf": Can anyone explain that?

When "Adolph Hitler" appears on the web or squeaks through at an alt-weekly, you can almost overlook it, but because of its status as "the paper of record" a mistake like this in the Times makes it almost canonical, especially for copy editors who'll frantically Nexis/Lexis the spelling during hellish, late night closes for their jobs and make the same error. So, hypothetical, overworked copy editors: use The New Yorker, and ignore MS Word, okay?

So, once and for all: It's Adolf Hitler. 'F' 'im—please.

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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