Earlier today, I saw this snapshot of the print version of the Washington Post, in which writer Lisa de Moraes appeared to have gotten Sherlock and Star Trek 2 star Benedict Cumberbatch‘s name fantastically wrong. He’s listed later in the article as Bandersnatch Cummerbund, which sounds about as absurd as his real name but looks similar enough that people assumed it was a prime entry for Damn You Auto Correct. But as the snapshot got tweeted around, and people found the same misspelling on the online version without it getting fixed, it was revealed that de Moraes… had made a joke.
Somehow, I don’t think any of us were prepared for this. Sure, blogs make up snarky nicknames all the time; it’s one of my favorite part of the Vulture TV recaps. But you assume that print publications like the Washington Post – who broke the Watergate story, for chrissakes — are above such silly distractions. But just a few hours later, it’s all been cleared up.
First, an MSNBC writer assured Poynter (the site that originally posted the photo) that the Post‘s copy-editing desk has a sense of humor and lets little jokes like this through all the time. Then de Moraes came out of the woodwork and said that she was just being snarky. She explained that she’s made a similar joke before — calling Ryan Seacrest ”Seabiscuit” in an American Idol recap — and that the name came from a commenter in one of her prior columns.
Good for them! And a smart way to get pageviews/attention, since Benedict Cumberbatch is really hot right now.