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Sunday, November 02, 2003

They're a little dated, but still...

I recently added Chairman Mao's Little Red Book to my library of books by dictators and/or tyrants (unlike so many on both ends of the political spectrum, I find the best defense against enemies is to listen to what they have to say). In the introduction (written in 1967 by A. Doak Barnett of Columbia University), I was forcefully reminded just what a difference a copy editor makes:
In the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" convulsing Communist China, Peking has flooded the country with literally tens of millions of copies of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, in an effort to defy Mao and all his works.

Excuse me? "Defy"? Who knew that one little letter, in this case a missing "i," could so completely change the intent of a sentence--or, indeed, of a revolution?

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