Category Archive 'Gaffes'
05 Jan 2021

The Plagiarism Ticket

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HT: Ed Driscoll.

29 Jun 2014


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From IainMcintosh via Amy Alkon [FB].

13 Oct 2013

Stephen King and the One-Nine-One-One Fully-Automatic Pistol

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The WWII-era Colt was actually the Model 1911A1

Stephen King is admired as a writer as much for his realism, for the acuity and accuracy of his observation of the details and textures of American life in our time, as he is for his fantasy and unhinged imagination.

You would never find King erroneously making an inaccurate reference to a 1960s television show or comic book, or having one of his juvenile characters consume an incorrectly described popular snack or candy bar, but to Stephen King guns just don’t seem to matter.

King’s latest, Doctor Sleep, is a sequel to one of his major hits, 1977’s The Shining, famous both in the book and in the film version directed by Stanley Kubrick. Dan Torrance, the little kid in The Shining, has grown up into an adult haunted by his visions, and driven by them to drink and personal ruin. He has become a recovering alcoholic, working in a New Hampshire hospice using his unique talents to comfort the dying, and faithfully going to AA meetings and performing his 12 steps, when he is drawn back into conflict with unnatural evil. A local young girl, even more gifted than Dan with psychic abilities, gets in touch with him. She has been targeted by an ancient company of psychic vampires, who unnaturally prolong their own lives by feeding on the essences of members of the tiny minority born with such gifts.

Dan drafts a couple of his local friends to help guard her from an imminent attack, including Billy Freeman, an older municipal handyman who helped Dan get his first local job.

Dave Stone, the girl’s father is skeptical of the old man’s capabilities.

All respect to you, Mr. Freeman,” Dave said, “but you’re a little old for bodyguard duty, and this is my daughter we’re talking about.”

Billy raised his shirttails and revealed an automatic pistol in a battered black holster. “One-nine-one-one Colt,” he said. “Full auto. World War II vintage This is old, too, but it’ll do the job.”

And the gun literate reader goes right up the wall.

Stephen King is so clueless that he thinks that you refer to John Browning’s Model of 1911 as the “One-nine-one-one Colt.” Worse, he does not understand that automatic pistols are typically only semi-automatic. The 1911 Colt was never officially produced in a full-auto version.

Stephen King is at least as ignorant about firearms as the late Ian Fleming, but the difference was that, after committing some howlers, Fleming began consulting with Major Geoffrey Boothroyd, who did know about guns, before mentioning any more of them in his books. Stephen King badly needs a Major Boothroyd.

In Doctor Sleep, the firearm misidentifications keep on coming. As our heroes prepare to ambush the villains, we find Dan equipped with one of two Glock .22s owned by the same Billy Freeman.

The problem is that there are no .22 caliber Glock pistols. Stephen King was confused by the existence of the Glock Model 22, chambered in .40 S&W.

The reader winds up actually uncertain if King means to have Dan shooting baddies with a Glock chambered in the potent man-stopping .40 S&W round, or making do with an imaginary .22 Long Rifle Glock which does not actually exist. From the effect on the villains, I’d guess that Dan was using a powerful center-fire cartridge, and that Stephen King just screwed up by referring to the Model number with a period in front of it.

This sort of thing isn’t the end of the world, but it seems to me that it signifies a very peculiar expression of contempt for accuracy which must be related to a deeply ingrained hoplophobic attitude.

Stephen King would never willingly put the wrong engine in one of his old-time American automobiles or talk about a “Ford Corvette.” He would never mess up on a point of technological nomenclature or misidentify a piece of popular culture. But where firearms are concerned, he just cannot be bothered to check his details.

Obviously, he thinks guns aren’t terribly important and expertise in the area of firearms is not important at all. Nobody who matters will notice. Only rubes and bitter clingers pay attention to that kind of thing anyway.

You can tell that, despite living in the city of Bangor in the state of Maine, where an awful lot of hunting and shooting goes on, the great author lives in an elite community of fashion bubble, the kind of lifestyle which caused Pauline Kael to marvel that Richard Nixon won re-election by a landslide when she herself had never met anyone who would consider voting for Nixon.

07 Aug 2013

He’s Campaigned in 57 States, But He’s Still Weak on US Geography

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LENO: You mentioned infrastructure. Why is that a partisan issue? I live in a town, the bridge is falling apart, it’s not safe. How does that become Republican or Democrat? How do you not just fix the bridge? (Laughter and applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know. As you know, for the last three years, I’ve said, let’s work together. Let’s find a financing mechanism and let’s go ahead and fix our bridges, fix our roads, sewer systems, our ports. [You know], the Panama [Canal] is being widened so that these big supertankers can come in. Now, that will be finished in 2015. If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, or Jacksonville, Florida — if we don’t do that, those ships are going to go someplace else. And we’ll lose jobs. Businesses won’t locate here.

I guess this has to do with studying elementary school geography in Indonesia. Can you imagine what the MSM would do to George W. Bush if he produced this kind of howler?

16 Oct 2012

Our Elite Is So Terribly Smart

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In countless areas of life, we are urged to bow to the better-informed consensus of the highly-educated community of fashion elite. After all, unlike you bitterly-clinging rubes and bumpkins out there, these people attended elite schools. They know better. Take Andrea Mitchell, for instance, she graduated from U of P. And as Glenn Reynolds gleefully notes, she recently identified herself as being one of The ‘Elite, Smart People.’

22 Aug 2012

Obama Spelling the Name of That 57th State

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The smartest man who ever lived is participating in spelling the name of the great state of “O-I-H-O”.

Even funnier was the Washington Post‘s hasty attempt to explain that the picture had been Photoshopped by nasty Republicans, which they were forced before very long to recant.

31 May 2012

Obama’s Polish Gaffe

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It is not really difficult to understand Poles being offended, when at the presentation of a posthumous American valor award for Jan Karski, a Polish officer who risked his life obtaining knowledge of the Holocaust and then carried that information to the Western Allies, President Barack Obama referred to Karski being “smuggled into a Polish death camp.”

The Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania served as homeland to the overwhelming majority of European Jewry for six centuries until that country was invaded, wiped from the map, and occupied by Prussia, Austria, and Russia at the end of the 18th century.

Jews lived for all those centuries in Poland-Lithuania as a self-governing estate under the protection of royal charters which granted Jews privileges and immunities nearly equal to those of the noble estate.

The witches’ brew of demagogic populist ideologies of the late 19th century, Socialism and Nationalism, impacted occupied Poland and Lithuania, as they did the rest of Central and Eastern Europe, dividing classes, ethnicities, and religious groups, but the so-often-alluded-to Polish antisemitism was far less virulent than elsewhere. During the Nazi-era persecution of the Jews, Poles themselves were on the receiving end of nearly equivalent scale murder and atrocities, but nevertheless Poles, like Karski, did much more on behalf of the Jews than citizens of any other occupied country.

Routine reference to “Polish death camps” by the ignorant and reflexively biased naturally deeply offend Poles.

Hat tip for the image above to Kaj Malachowski.

05 Apr 2012

The Absent-Minded Constitutional Law Professor

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04 Apr 2012

This Guy Actually Lectured on Constitutional Law at Chicago

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Stuart Schneiderman
mercilessly rubs in what has become increasingly obvious this week: the chosen representative of our nation’s establishment elite is really an ignoramus who’d flunk basic questions from a high school Civics course.

America’s thinking class saw Barack Obama as a light shining in the wilderness.

In deep despair over the coarsening of public discourse during the Dark Ages of the Bush administration, American intellectuals saw Barack Obama as one of their own, someone who could restore their exalted social status and raise the level of deliberative democratic debate.

Obama hadn’t accomplished anything of note; he wasn’t really qualified for the presidency; but he was superbly intelligent, had presided over the Harvard Law Review, had professed Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School, and had authored two brilliant books. …

A few days ago the curtain was drawn and people could see that the Wizard of Oz was not what he claimed to be.

In an effort to get personally involved in Supreme Court deliberations over his signature piece of legislation—Obamacare—our president made it appear that he did not understand the most fundamental doctrine in American jurisprudence.

The former president of the Harvard Law Review, former professor at the University of Chicago Law review managed to mangle an explanation of “judicial review.” As every high school history student knows the doctrine was adumbrated in 1803 by Chief Justice John Jay in the case of Marbury v. Madison.

Obama asserted:

Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.

As everyone but Obama knows, Marbury v. Madison established the right of the Supreme Court to strike down Congressional legislation that it deemed unconstitutional.

The Court has done just that on hundreds of occasions.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

18 Mar 2012

“Don’t Know Much About History”

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Some of the basic objectionable features of liberalism include a profound contempt for the past combined with an overwheening sense of personal superiority. Barack Obama excels at embodying liberalism.

His energy policy speech, delivered on Thursday at Prince George Community College, was a truly classic performance, featuring an utterly empty and fraudulent claim to eminence based upon superior learning and understanding embodied in a series of totally erroneous self-flattering comparisons.

Barack Obama demonstrated, once and for all, that he is an historically-illiterate imbecile, too ignorant, vainglorious, and incompetent to factcheck supposed historical claims, which really constituted a series of excellent examples of “things every badly educated idiot know to be true,” all of which were dead wrong.

Mark Steyn did a fine job of kicking Barack Obama’s boneheaded and abysmally ignorant butt around the block for this one, not failing to remind his readers of the time liberal presidential historian Michael Beschloss (Andover, Williams, Harvard) shared his opinion with the savant Don Imus that Barack Obama “is a guy whose IQ is off the charts” and “probably the smartest guy ever to become president.” The gods of history fell over laughing.

As John Hinderaker reports “the smartest guy ever to become president”‘s public pratfall was not without consequences. A new Internet meme of captioned portraits of Rutherford B. Hayes, avenging himself for Barack Obozo’s inaccurate slights, has taken off and become a craze.

You can see page after page of examples via this QuickMeme link.

09 Dec 2011

Tweet of the Day

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Drudge Report 12/9/2011: Obama celebrates Hanukkah at White House…

10 Nov 2011

Rick Perry Candidacy, R.I.P.

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‘What part of the federal government would you like to forget about the most?’


It is amazing how politicians we have not even elected yet can manage to so thoroughly disappoint us.

How can anyone get so confused that he could forget the name of any third federal agency or cabinet department worthy of elimination? There are so many. I bet I could name dozens. And he failed to start with the BATF!

Governor Perry is a clearly a good guy, and he has a terrific record in Texas that he could be running on, but this kind of thing simply will not do. You can’t flub in public like this and be elected president. I’m afraid it’s time to call this candidacy off.

We Republicans have got to get our act together before the New Year and get behind a viable conservative, or it’s going to be Mitt Romney.


I think I’m going to open a recession-proof new business: Professor Z’s Public Speaking and Elocution Lessons for Provincial Republican Governors Aspiring to the Presidency. Graduates are guaranteed to say “noo-klee-ar” not “nook-yu-lur.”

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