I suppose that I’ve had my doubts about Time since they started featuring Joel Stein during the Walter Isaacson years. However, the mistake that I brought to your attention in the previous entry is not a mistake at all. The term “just deserts” invokes a rarely-used definition (and pronunciation) of deserts meaning “the quality or fact of deserving reward or punishment.” (Thanks Merriam Webster.) I’m not the only one to have fallen victim to this misapprehension. A thank you to Elisa Huang for setting me straight.
Those of you who feel that I’m lose my “edge” or find myself chastened have another thing coming. 🙂 The other error I picked up in the same issue of Time results from another common misapprehension. Richard Corliss, in his article “Baseball Takes A Hit“, intimates that Lyle Alzado’s death of cancer was related in some way to his abuse of steroids. According to doctors, there is no link between the type of cancer that killed the brash Raider and steroids. In fairness, Corliss is hardly the only journalist guilty of making this implication. But the continued tying of Alzado’s death to performance-enhancing drugs demonstrates that our misinterpretations are easily reinforced. Now excuse me, while go drown my sorrows in a bowl full of my just desserts. (Bad pun intended.)