Fanzine Marred By Grammatical Error

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Fanzine Marred By Grammatical Error

BERKELEY, CA—A rare grammatical error was discovered Monday in the latest issue of MangaMash, a fanzine devoted to hardcore Japanese speed-metal bands and Sanrio/Hello Kitty novelty kitsch products.

<I>MangaMash</I> stunned its readers with a rare grammatical error in its latest issue, accidentally using "your" instead of "you're" (below-left).

The error, which involved the incorrect usage of "your" instead of "you're," shocked and disappointed MangaMash's estimated dozen readers, who for over 11 months and three issues have come to admire the fanzine's commitment to journalistic excellence.

"I guess I just missed that one," said editor/publisher Dave Pelks, 20, who said he usually tries to read the fanzine once before taking it to the copy shop. "It's 'you're' and not 'your'? Shit, I always mess that up."

The error marks the first for MangaMash since last year's April/November issue, in which "New York" was spelled "New Yrrok."

Pelks defended his previous error. "That wasn't like a real mistake," he said. "That time I just totally typed it wrong by accident. I know how to spell New York." Pelks stressed that it was late at the time, and that he was "really tired."

The latest error has prompted Pelks to make a significant overhaul of the fanzine's editorial process.

"I think from now on, I'm gonna have my sister Anne look it over before I make any copies," he said. "She's only 15, but she's really good at spelling and writing. She's, like, the brain of the family."

As an added safety check, Pelks said that if Anne is unavailable for editing, he will ask his mother for help.

Because of the typo, future expansion plans have been put on hold. "I was hoping do a color cover for the next issue," Pelks said. "Actually, not in color, but on color paper. It was going to be a big picture of Hello Kitty fighting Gamera on green paper. That would've been so cool."

According to industry insiders, the mistake puts the fanzine's rock-solid editorial reputation in jeopardy.

"This is a serious error," Random House vice-president Margaret Ferber said. "It's MangaMash's most significant mistake since two issues ago, when Pelks stapled all the cover pages on upside-down."

"I totally wasn't paying attention," Pelks said of that incident. Collectors estimate the value of the rare upside-down-cover issue at zero dollars.

Despite the most recent slip-up, MangaMash's two distributors have vowed to stand behind the embattled fanzine.


"MangaMash provides the best coverage around of Japancore bands like HappyGinzaPoo and Shoko Ono," said Pat Kwiatkowski, owner of Crush Records, a Berkeley-area record store specializing in used LPs and hard-to-find imports. "Their recent feature on KyotoFunFun's tour of New Zealand was outstanding."

Paul Scobee, manager of a downtown Berkeley Stop-N-Pop convenience store, also stood by the fanzine. "A few months ago, [Pelks] asked me if he could leave a few copies of his magazine by the door," Scobee said. "So I told him yeah, as long as they don't block the entrance. So far, it's been okay."

The fanzine's most recent mistake does not surprise linguists, who say that it ranks among the most commonly made grammatical errors.

"A lot of people confuse 'your' and 'you're,'" New York Times columnist William Safire said. "If you are unsure about which to use, I recommend that you actually spell out 'you are,' and then see if it makes sense in context."


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