May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013

The Devil’s in the Details

Having a good start to your summer? That’s nice, because a lot of people around here aren’t. It’s like a real-life episode of “Scandal,” though even Olivia Pope would have a hard time with the mess(es) popping up every day. Rather than letting DC’s dirty underbelly get me down, though, I’ve chosen to escape through reading. Specifically, through reading a political thriller about DC’s dirty underbelly.

Wait a minute.

Sedition, recently (and perhaps still) offered as a free Kindle book, is set in a DC where both the President and Vice President have recently died. Since the VP-designee had not yet been sworn in when the President died, there’s a bit of a Constitutional crisis. Who becomes President? The VP, who had not yet taken the oath as required by the Constitution? Or the Speaker of the House, as per the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 and somewhat out of line with Article II, Section 1?

*dun dun DUUUUUNNNN*

I’m not gonna lie, this is heady stuff. Thankfully, the book also includes a plot to kill most of the Cabinet, an intrepid NSA analyst, and a few other twists and turns to sex things up a bit (yes, sometimes literally, you perv). But I kept getting distracted from what promised to be an interesting read by little mistakes. Not just the occasional typo or incorrect homophone use; I’ve accepted that those are just more common in e-books. I’m talking about things like a reference to 33rd and Constitution Avenue, “just north of the Lincoln Memorial.” For one, the intersection just north of the Lincoln Memorial is 23rd and Constitution Avenue. For two, 33rd and Constitution Avenue doesn’t exist.

Then there was the reference to Blue Bell ice cream. For people of the South, and Texas especially, Blue Bell is omnipresent. But it wasn’t available in the DC area until March of this year. Even now, the closest it comes is Stafford, Virginia. The character who allegedly ate it every night lives near Fort Meade, Maryland. That must be some dedication to drive over a hundred miles for ice cream.

I realize that this sort of thing probably annoys only me, but I am my most valued constituency. On the off chance that any authors are reading this, hear my plea: get a fact-checker. Heck, I’ll do it. I love to read and edit; too few of my college friends took advantage of that. (This is why they’re working as bank tellers and I’m working for a clandestine government organization seeking to rid the world of evildoers.) Call me. Or, um, email me. Because calling me would be weird; we don’t know each other like that. Yet.

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