the fatal flaw

i’ve been happily chugging through Douglas Coupland’s Eleanor Rigby all weekend. i’m pretty much loving it except for one thing. the narrative jumps around in time quite a bit, some of it takes place in 1967, some in 1997 and some in 2004. i can mostly keep up with the time shifts, though some of them are a little unclear. but at one point in the story, at a point that is very clearly 1997, one of the chracter makes a joke about 3,999,999 depressing web logs about some disease.

yeah, i don’t think so doug. i don’t think vancouver’s middle class was that cutting edge when it came to the weblogs phenomena. there’s no way a character could make that joke in 1997 and have anyone get it. 1999? maybe. 2001 totally. but 1997?

and this fatal flaw, it’s bugging the shit out of me. it’s one of those minor errors that some editor should have caught. someone should have realize that it just doesn’t jive with the story in the right way. and it bugs the ever-living shit out of me that it’s in there. it’s totally harshing my buzz on this book, which i am really quite enjoying.

it’s sorta like when John Irving had those Green Bay, Wisconsin natives in The Fourth Hand say, “It’s wicked hard to get dem dere Packers tickets.” yeah, people in Wisconsin don’t say wicked hard. they just don’t. and it pisses me off that nobody told Irving. doesn’t anyone do any sort of research at all anymore? these things are minor but still enough to make you think that author doesn’t know what in the hell is going.

of course my all-time favorite mistake is in Colin Meloy’s (of the decemberists fame) 33 1/3: Let it Be manifestio about the awesomeness of the ‘mats album of the same name. in it he uses the wrong waist/waste. i can’t remember which one he used but it was wrong and i wondered what sort of copyeditor worked on that damn book. and really, it’s made even worse because his sister is the fabulous Maile Meloy who wrote Liars and Saints and the even better Half in Love. i wonder if she cringes whenever she reads her brother’s wrong waist/waste.

i mean i know how easy it is to use the wrong word. i’m the queen of the wrong to/too/two or its/it’s, especially when i’m in the zone. but if i go back and read something (which i hardly ever do on it leaps out of me like a hungry shark.

it’s just diappointing when you hold someone up so high and they make a lame, bone-headed mistake that someone should have caught.

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  1. heather 23.Jan.05 at 1:34 pm

    i totally understand. i still haven’t forgiven douglas for calling skytrain a monorail in ‘city of glass’. he should know better!

  2. John 23.Jan.05 at 7:22 pm

    Oh when Tom Clancy (otherwise known as Jackie Collins for men) writes a story set in 1981 but makes a lot of mid-80s references like the Chicago Bears and Dan Marino.

  3. jodi 23.Jan.05 at 11:02 pm

    john, i refuse to lower myself to reading Tom Clancy, you should probably know that. i’m a total book snobby snob.

    also, hess, i haven’t read any of Coupland’s canada stuff. i suspect it’s only something you will love if you love canda.

  4. heather 24.Jan.05 at 8:33 am

    well… if you’ve read ‘girlfriend in a coma’ or ‘all families are psychotic’ or ‘hey nostradamus’, you could say you’ve read his canada stuff. technically. it’s just not his touristy canada stuff.

    *sigh* i do love douglas.

  5. Kristy 26.Jan.05 at 3:10 pm

    Even though I’ve graciously contacted you before and you ignored my efforts, I realize that is your fatal flaw and I have continued to read along despite it. 🙂 Oh…and my bud Tod Goldberg cited this page on his blog too…he’s a cool guy who does acknowledge.

  6. jodi 26.Jan.05 at 3:11 pm

    you didn’t know that i am the all-time worst e-mailer in the history of the world? i should probably put that as my tagline. really.

  7. Kristy 26.Jan.05 at 3:41 pm

    it’s all good….I still read. It’s not like I “paid” to access your blog…right?