The Corner


Manufacturing Lack of Consent, Part LXVII

Deeply religious people sometimes say that their faith is always present in their lives, that they express it in everything they do. The same is true of copy editors. For years, every time I passed the intersection of bleeker [sic] and mulberry streets, I felt a strong urge to shimmy up the pole with a piece of chalk and insert a caret and the missing C. Similarly, when I recently saw the headline “‘Can I put my hand there?’: New York law changes the rules of the college hook-up,” my first reaction was (you guessed it): “Shouldn’t that be ‘May I’?” In the current climate, one can easily imagine an irresolute libertine with editorial experience saying yes to “Can I?” and then explaining in court: “I merely confirmed that he was able to put his hand there, not that I consented to his doing so.” The idea of a sex lawyer doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all . . . 


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