Enjoy visiting the haunts of the [sic] Mount Vernon’s literary luminaries — the enigmatic Edgar Allen [sic] Poe, the curmudgeonly H.L. Mencken… following a lively map drawn by Baltimore’s favorite caricaturist, Tom Chaulkley [sic].
Okay . . . it’s bad enough that they spelled Tom Chalkley’s name incorrectly. I can even forgive “the” being appended to Mount Vernon. But for Christ’s sake, Edgar ALLEN Poe? This is Baltimore. Poe is buried here. I understand that it’s not always possible to visit his grave on a tight deadline, but Google serves up almost 6 million web pages on the man, and it takes what—20 seconds? 30 at most?—to fact check his name and spell it correctly.
Back in the early 90s, I worked as a graphic designer for a company that published Maryland magazine. The editor was astoundingly incompetent, so I took it upon myself to proofread the copy. And that was the first time I saw the cousin-marrying master of the macabre’s name misspelled. I can’t remember whether it was Alan, or Allen, or some other variation, but since then I’ve seen inaccurate variations in many local publications (including City Paper) as well as national magazines, books, blogs, and websites. (UPDATE: And now, sadly, a Poe-themed Baltimore bar/restaurant. Sigh.)
So please. Please, please, please. Edgar Allan Poe. Allan. ALLAN. Come up with a mnemonic device or something. Etch it into your brain, writers, publicists, fact checkers, editors, and proofreaders, because otherwise my one-man organization (APSEAP, Alliance for the Proper Spelling of Edgar Allan Poe) will rain ridicule, scorn, and eternal shame upon you. We’re watching, ready to tap-tap-tap a bitter, stinging admonishment.
Bonus: Here is my letter to City Paper from 11/1/2006:
I’m a pretty forgiving reader, but I find it shameful that your copy editor and fact checker didn’t catch the misspelling of the middle name of that Edgar Whatsisface Poe guy (“Ink Stains,” Arts & Entertainment, Oct. 25). You know who I’m talking about–the dour, hard-partying, moustache-sporting fellow who lived in Baltimore for a while and wrote a bunch of scary stories about talking birds and people getting bricked up in walls and stuff. The guy who is buried at Fayette and Greene and has a mysterious bottle of cognac delivered on his birthday–that dude.
I mean, I can totally understand if you spelled H.L. Macon’s name wrong, or maybe even Anne Tylor’s. But Poe? Harm City’s own master of the macob? Gimme a freakin’ break.
Please cancel my prescription.