Saturday, July 31, 2010

Slightly imperfect

I've actually been keeping up with my New Yorker reading lately (the double issues always help me catch up, since they're twice as long but half as interesting as a normal issue, and then I get a week off). Skipping the stuff I know I'll hate is helping me pick up the pace, and not stopping to blog about that or anything else has been helpful as well. But this week I blogged not once but twice at dotCommonweal about various features of the August 2 issue. First, I recommended Atul Gawande's excellent article about death and health care. And today I picked on some aggressively secularist posturing in the "Briefly Noted" section, along with a less disdainful but similarly clueless Bible reference in an earlier issue.

I'm hoping I don't need to explain what's funny about that last one to the audience over at dotComm, but for those who haven't visited a religious bookstore lately, let me clarify: the NRSV Bible is a translation, not a specific print edition. (Wikipedia puts it this way: "The New Revised Standard a thorough revision of the Revised Standard Version.") It comes in all shapes and sizes, the way Bibles do. So describing something as "about the size of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible" (as Meghan O'Rourke does) sounds knowing and specific, but is actually very vague.

Nox, according to, is 9.1 x 6 x 2.6 inches. So there are some editions of the NRSV that are about the same size. Perhaps it was this imitation leather "award Bible" O'Rourke had in mind? Or, if you wanted to get really specific, you might say it's about the size of a New King James Version Precious Moments ® Small Hands Edition Bible, available "slightly imperfect" from I did not know it was possible to purchase a "slightly imperfect" Bible. The very idea seems slightly blasphemous―and yet, I would say a Precious Moments ® Bible is "slightly imperfect" by definition. Score one for truth in advertising.

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