A professional write-mare (sic): can you spot the mistake?

“How do you think I feel? Betrayed….bewildered……”

How about those Dolphins?

Just one of many moments of hilarity from the wonderfully funny Birdcage movie with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Well, I guess that’s how I feel on discovering a simple typo in the unit description for ATS1298 Professional Writing, part of the promotional material distributed today to several hundred potential students of the programme at Monash’s Open Day 2014. Oh….and I would also add “responsible”.  What to do becomes the next question. Damage control seems the obvious answer. Please read on.

Plead mea culpa….throw yourself on the mercy of your audience, of your industry peers, of your currently enrolled students. Hang one’s head in shame as one trudges the long walk across the campus. Haaa….it’s a jungle out there…there’ll be no forgiveness, just inevitable professional and possibly public humiliation. Even Ash, my pet budgie, seems to be looking down on me with greater disdain than usual from his perch upon high. It has started.

Why, why, why did I join the self-righteous chorus of sniggering caustic critics of that ‘viral’ Monash promotional blunder displayed for all to see on many a bus shelter billboard, which saw ‘then’ and ‘than’ mixed up:

Then and Than

Why, why, why did I use this example in Lecture 1 to highlight the follies of an unprofessional writing? Pride does indeed cometh before a fall. But, didn’t I also suggest in the lecture that this error could have been deliberate: a strategy, a clever ruse to actually achieve publicity, notoriety? Perhaps the same could be applied to this current disgrace…perhaps, afterall, my skin is salvageable?

Yes, that’s it! It was an intentional mistake…. a teaching opportunity ….a faux error. Ash, the budgie, remains unimpressed. It just won’t wash. It was a mistake: poor professional writing. Mea culpa.

Accuracy in writing, especially in a professional context, is important. Accuracy in writing signals a certain credibility, especially when one claims some sort of expertise in the field to the extent of teaching such a professional writing programme at tertiary level. So….. “not happy {Matthew}. Please try harder”. Can you spot the mistake?