Responding to John’s post quoting Freeman Dyson, the prominent Boston University Professor emerita Aileen Kraditor sent us a message early this morning with the subject hire a literate proofreadwe (sic). Her message noted: “You wrote: ‘Dyson wrote a forward…’ I bet that what he wrote is a foreword” (ellipsis in original).
I’m probably looking for laughs in all the wrong places and may have misread Professor Kraditor’s message in any event, but it struck me as funny. I wrote Professor Kraditor:
Dear Professor Kraditor: Thank you for your message. Four contributors write every day for our site and don’t have the funds to support a proofreader. Contrary to the implication of your message, each of us is literate. [I should have added that Steve and I could use a little help with punctuation.] We try to do the proofreading job on our own, though errors still slip through, as in the subject line of your email.
I certainly appreciate messages from readers who point out errors and use them to correct my own posts as well those of my colleagues. Yet I don’t understand the obnoxious tone of your message. Indeed, I can’t account for it. Maybe you can help me on that front too.
Maybe Professor Kraditor was trying to be genial. Maybe she was just trying to be helpful. If Professor Kraditor responds I’ll be sure to post that message as well.