This was bound to happen.
In a response to my column of this morning (Feb. 26), I received a note from a reader complaining about my reference to “the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor.”
“What happened to accuracy?” he asked, apparently quite serious.
To me, it seemed obvious enough — even to those poor, deprived souls that have never seen the movie — that I was citing a line from “Animal House.” Not obvious enough for this individual, however.
The note prompted a discussion in my office about whether we should approach our work as if our readers arrived on the planet or emerged from a cave just yesterday, and thus make every reference as clear as possible — even if it means dumbing down a joke.
My take: in a news story, perhaps so. In a column, no. Either the reader gets it or doesn’t. If not, perhaps curiosity might move that reader to go online and figure it out.
Hey, I just do ‘em; I don’t explain ‘em.