Saturday, February 26, 2011

Why, Spiling Maters

"I don't care what they say about me, as long as they spell my name right." That line has been variously attributed -- P.T. Barnum, perhaps, but who can say? Still, no matter who said it, the remark is perennially true. If we ever have our fifteen minutes of fame, we want our name spelled correctly.

So it is that we Eggers extend our condolences to Fr. James Corgee, of South Florida's Luther Memorial Church. For more than one reason.

First, and by all means foremost, because Fr. Corgee and his church were party to a truly terrible event last Wednesday. A young man, clearly deranged, burst into a Bible study wielding a knife and threatening people. The police were summoned. An officer shot, but did not kill, the young man. All in all, it must have been a terrifying event, and we hope that all parties will seek and receive the appropriate care, both spiritual and psychological.

But then, in the aftermath, a nice reporter from the local Fox News affiliate showed up to interview the pastor. The resulting broadcast and print article is mildly interesting. We don't really learn anything about young Johnathan Shae (if that is indeed the correct spelling of the knife-wielder's name). We do learn that, in the pastor's opinion, "there's definitely something wrong with this guy," but to be honest we had expected as much. We also learn that the pastor "has been pastor at the church for nearly a decade and a pastor for more than 30 years

This is true, but not entirely revealing. Corgee was ordained rather more than forty years ago. We know this because he was, for many years, a part of our synod. He served one of its largest parishes, and we ourselves assisted his successor. We own his cast-off biretta.

We also know that his name is Corgee, with an "r," not -- as the Fox Article says -- Congee. It says this no fewer than seven times, by the way. And in this incorrect form, thanks to the simultaneous rise of the internet and decline of fact-checking, the poor guy's name has now been spread all over the planet. He may as well have it legally changed, now, for all the luck he will have getting it corrected. (Incidentally, the broadcast version got it right. The mess-up is confined to writing.)

Yes, yes, we are aware that the local affiliates have little or nothing to do with the national news organization. But pardon us for observing that this does seem like the familiar strategy of the screech media: report a fact incorrectly, and then repeat it so often that the truth is obscured.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

What's an Eggers? That's my cousins
's name.

Father Anonymous said...

Ha. Now that I think about it, that's a pretty common name among Lutherans. I was just trying to vary the tired old "we at the Egg." Next time, either Eggsters -- note the "s" -- or Ovuli.