Lazy media mistakes

Speaking of Czech, The Big Bang Theory got a couple of very simple facts wrong-- but not only got the wrong, repeated the ad nauseum. In front of Sheldon.

After having established Sheldon as a pedant, who delights in a chance to correct people, AND who has a head for trivia, it is just impossible that he would not have corrected these errors.

In the first instance, he not only tolerates Leonard mispronouncing the Czech given name Vaclav (it’s Vatslav), but her repeats it, AND correctly identifies Good King Wenceslaus as Svaty Vaclav. (Svaty is “Saint” in both Czech and Slovak).

Even if Sheldon had not known the pronunciation of Vaclav from Svaty Vaclav, he would have known it from Vaclav Havel, the first president of the current, independent Czech Republic.

In the second, he and Amy have a protracted to do over who with stand up for them at their wedding, including whether Penny or Bernadette will be the “Maid of Honor.” In all the time they spend discussing in, Sheldon never once mentions that, as Penny and Bernadette are both married, neither one can serve as a Maid of Honor. The term for a married woman who attends a friend at her wedding is “Matron of Honor.”

I was listening to a professional military history podcast that claimed the American Battleship USS North Carolina was currently a museum ship in Virginia.

I know not all names are indicative but come-on.

I think you expect too much of literal children.

I’ve been in that one.

There are zero mistakes or errors here. It’s a narrative choice that you disagree with, but your critique makes no sense if we consider that Let The Right One In isn’t a documentary and it’s not even about astronomy. It’s about people.

The only requirement of the dialog is that it should sound like what people might talk about at a stargazing party. A child’s expected knowledge of astronomy is wholly irrelevant to the art, so the writers didn’t even need to get the facts right. Yet they did! The Sea of Tranquility is assuredly on the moon, it can definitely be seen through a telescope. There are no errors here, just a narrative choice that isn’t literal enough to your liking.

It’s always jarring to me when it happens on BBT, especially with Sheldon. I’ve noticed it several times but the only one I can think of at the moment is one I mentioned here before. Koalas are Sheldon’s favorite animal and he calls them Koala Bears. Folks pointed out that it’s very common for most people to use that term, and while that may be true, it doesn’t feel true for a pedant like Sheldon to misname it, especially since it’s his favorite.

The character was “a science nerd who loved space and astronomy”. I simply do not accept that a science nerd who was loved space and astronomy would have no clue about a basic aspect of one of the two biggest naked-eye objects in the sky. People at a stargazing party who would ask a question like that are people who have never given astronomy a thought in their lives.

A guy from Turkey is out of place in the Middle East?

It would be very, very hard to not see it through a telescope. Which is my point. Would I expect a random person on the street to know this? No. Would I expect aa astronomy nerd to know this? Absolutely.

That one doesn’t bother me. First , because no matter how much Sheldon loves trivia and to correct people, I am not at all certain that he would know this particular piece of trivia, in the same way I wouldn’t be certain he would know a particular piece of non-football sports trivia. Second, I feel like the distinction is disappearing - most of the time, if you read about maid of honor duties or speeches or the difference between a maid of honor and a bridesmaid, there is no mention of a “matron of honor” - even sometimes when a "man of honor " is mentioned.

Except that the writer also needs to use some feature that the overwhelming majority of viewers will recognize as “A place on the Moon”. Otherwise a lot of them won’t know that the kid is even talking about the Moon.

How many people on the street do you think could name a second area on the Moon? How many would name the same second area? When you’re aiming for the lowest common denominator, this is what you get.

All France is Paris, All England is London, and all that.

And more than once, a modern airliner has landed safely, with no damage, injuries or explosion, with no engines.

Even the more-accurate-than-every-other-show Emergency! did that, more than once.

You can see it clearly even without a telescope!

I hear lazy mistakes in documentary films all the time. It’s clear people who write the scripts know very little about the actual subject.

Some examples that made me groan recently:

  • Panzerfaust means “Tank Fist.” (It doesn’t. It means “Armored Fist.” Also, Buzzy on Jeopardy! translated Panzerschwein (Armadillo) as “Tank Pig.” It’s not “Tank Pig,” it’s “Armored Pig.”)
  • “Area bombing” is euphemistically called “Carpet bombing.” (No, it ain’t. They’re two completely different things.)
  • The main German tank at the beginning of WWII was the “Panzer One-Eleven.” (That is, the Panzer III, as opposed to the Panzer II or IV.)

It took me few seconds to figure out WTF was meant by the last one!

I remember once seeing Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings read a news item about Jupiter’s moon, Ten.

There was one network newscaster (I don’t remember his name right offhand) who kept referring to Thor Heyerdahl’s raft (the Ra II) as the “R-A Two.'” He (or his writer) apparently forgot about the Egyptian god Ra.

This one was way more glaring to me:

The plane was an enormous steel cylinder…

It’s aluminum, or possibly carbon fiber nowadays. Steel is way too heavy to build a plane out of.

That reminded me of one. It was well established that Sheldon loves trains, and that they are one of the subjects that he knows a ton of trivia about. In one episode, Amy surprises Sheldon by announcing she’s taking him on a train ride, and starts describing the train in detail – “A fully restored 1906 Pullman dining car” (I’m just making that up; I don’t remember exactly what she said there) “Pulled by a 1952 ‘Alcoa’…” Woah… Alcoa is a company that makes aluminum. There was a company called Alco that made locomotives. It’s an easy mistake to make since the names are so similar, but you know Sheldon would have corrected her when she said that.

That might not have even been the writers’ fault; maybe Mayim Bialik just mispronounced it when she said her line. But no one caught it, and it really sounds wrong if you know about trains.

An episode of The West Wing featured a scruffy English ambassador(?) who ordered scotch at a function. He ordered 16-year old Lagavulin, from the island of Islay. He pronounced it ‘Islay’ rather than ‘Eyelah’. Oops.

Been a while but wasn’t that character played by Roger Rees, who Wikipedia tells me is Welsh?

I was watching one of those airplane disaster programs. During landing the captain said “Gear down”. The program was subtitled and the (machine?)translator subtitled with “Downshift”.
Almost fell out of my chair