I hope our readers here will excuse and indulge me for a personal posting, but I wanted to set something straight.:
This morning, I woke up to an e-mail from my brother Michael in Dallas alerting me that the following line had been added to the biographical entry about me in Wikipedia:
On January 27, 2008 she posted an article in the online edition of TIME titled “Obama’s Win Rejiggers Race” then approximately Noon ET, the article was retitled “Obama’s Win Reshapes Race”.
All of that is factually accurate, but the implication I’m afraid some readers will draw is that I had written a headline that included a verb with racial connotations. In fact, I did not write the headline, and went to bed Saturday night without having seen it. The overworked editor who did had no recognition of the meaning that some readers might see in the verb–nor, quite honestly, do I think I would have discerned it either. The next morning, I found (and am grateful for) this e-mail from an alert reader:
Why “rejigger” in your Time headline?
rejigger – to change or rearrange in a new or different way, esp. by the use of techniques not always considered ethical.
& “rout” ?
a defeat attended with disorderly flight; dispersal of a defeated force in complete disorder:
I requested that the headline be changed, and my editors did so. Over the past few days, I have been aware that there has been some discussion of this in the blogosphere. I have even seen one blogger, assuming that I had written the headline, suggest that I should be fired for it. I figured the best thing to do was to ignore it–always a dangerous thing to assume in the blogosphere. Obviously, that was a mistake on my part.