Category:
Goofs and Screw-ups

Banvard’s Folly

I am halfway thru reading this book and can testify to its greatness, and to its allure for all WU-vies. I have already learned about so many hoaxes, weirdos and charlatans I never knew about before.

Here's how the book opens:




Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 01, 2021 - Comments (8)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, History, Historical Figure, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Inventions, New Age, Supernatural, Occult, Paranormal, Books, Goofs and Screw-ups

The Error in The Ambassadors

The first American edition of Henry James's novel The Ambassadors was published in 1903. But it took 47 years before anyone noticed that there seemed to be a glaring error in it, and the person who noticed was a Stanford undergrad, Robert E. Young. As told by Frances Wilson in the Times Literary Supplement:

This was no minor mistake but an error of giant proportions, sitting bang in the middle of the book and staring right at you: "Chapters XXVIII and XXIX are in reverse order" (the italics are Young’s). Chapter 28, in which Lambert Strether reports to Maria Gostrey his conversation with Chad Newsome of the night before, precedes the conversation itself which is described in chapter 29. Only when the positions of chapters 28 and 29 are reversed, Young argued, does the chronology make sense...

this reversal of chapters was missed by James, not once but twice. He missed it when he checked the proofs of the novel set by Harper and he missed it again in 1908, during his scrupulous revision of The Ambassadors for Scribner’s New York Edition of his work.

The chapters had actually been printed in the correct order in a British edition, published before the American one. But every subsequent American (and British) edition had used the incorrect order, until Young pointed out the mistake.



Young blamed James's writing style for the error. He concluded his 1950 article in the journal American Literature (in which he exposed the error) with this paragraph:

That James possessed many virtues as a novelist is indisputable; however, this discovery seems to add weight to the contention that the style of writing he affected in his later novels is not one of them. Indeed, there must be something radically wrong with a writing style that has managed to obscure an error of this magnitude for so many years from the probing eyes of innumerable readers, publishers, editors, critics, and even the author himself. It does not seem necessary to labor this point.

Naturally, this charge riled James's fans, some of whom sought to defend him. Most notably, in 1992 scholar Jerome McGann argued that James might have intended for the chapters to be in that order. From Wikipedia:

McGann explained the chronological discrepancies by noting that the start of (the Harper edition) chapter 28 tells that it will describe a conversation that will occur in the 'future' (relative to the juncture reached in the story), and that the 'that evening' line, at the start of chapter 29, refers not to the evening just described in chapter 28, but to the previous one.

It doesn't seem that many people buy McGann's argument, so the consensus remains that the chapters were out of order and James never noticed.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Mar 22, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Literature, Goofs and Screw-ups

Merry Christmas 2020!

Otherwise known as "Santa Claus's Mistake."

Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 25, 2020 - Comments (8)
Category: Holidays, Toys, Gender, Goofs and Screw-ups

Follies of the Madmen #485



No infants were harmed in the making of this ad. Oh, wait a minute, they're not breathing...

Source.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 08, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Babies, Business, Advertising, Death, 1950s, Goofs and Screw-ups

When Havoc Struck



It's never news or entertainment when something goes right, only when it goes wrong. The 1978 TV series WHEN HAVOC STRUCK knew what people wanted. Glenn Ford must've needed a paycheck.

Other episodes on YouTube.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 30, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Accidents, Goofs and Screw-ups, Death, Destruction, Engineering and Construction, 1970s

They Died Laughing

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[Click to enlarge]

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Dec 22, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Death, Hospitals, 1970s, Goofs and Screw-ups

Lets Go To The Video

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If, as a family, you are going to plot a murder and make it look like self defense on your own property then perhaps you should turn off your surveillance camera. Father, son and daughter caught themselves setting up the daughter's boyfriend's murder and let the police get the video as well because Florida.

Posted By: patty - Thu Apr 07, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Stupid Criminals, Goofs and Screw-ups

Forgot to Chew Off The Tat Too

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Kirk Kelly was picked up in a traffic stop in Tallmadge, Ohio. To avoid having his true identity revealed he lied about his name and then sat in the back of a cruiser and chewed off his fingerprints. The police subsequently identified him by a tattoo. I have to specify, although Kirk was picked up in Ohio, he was originally from Florida- the WTF state.

Posted By: patty - Sun Mar 06, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Stupid Criminals, Tattoos, Goofs and Screw-ups

Womb Detox Balls

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So, there is a company selling herb balls that are meant to be inserted in the vagina to detox the womb. Medical professionals are, of course, advising strongly against using the product, siting infections and toxic shock syndrome amongst other problems. One doctor described the uterus like a self cleaning oven and said the herbs in the product have not been tested for use in the vagina. Ladies, really, stop sticking weird stuff up your hoo hah its contraindicated.

Posted By: patty - Mon Jan 18, 2016 - Comments (8)
Category: Hygiene, Genitals, Goofs and Screw-ups

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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