Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ill-Heard BBC Punctuation Suggests Broadcaster's Role in Norman Mailer's Death

Caught this in the wee hours. Moments like this make being awake at ungodly hours fun for the American ear. What we have is an interview with Norman Mailer on the BBC's The Word, recorded during the promotion of Mailer's The Castle in the Forest and rebroadcast on the occasion of the author's recent passing. Cue the file up to about 26:16 to hear the show's host back announce the interview, "Norman Mailer, who died last week, talking to the BBC's Mark Lawson." In the dreamy twilight zoning that comes at dawn after a night of much work and little rest, and given my possession of a somewhat poor transatlantic English ear, I swore I first that caption statement sans commas. Ungrammatical in such a formulation, yes; but undeniably more compelling radio than the properly heard utterance.

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