The Telemachus Press Blog


Make no mistake . . . I am not a fan of rap music.  Not because of who sings it or what it’s about – simply because I don’t understand it.  My ears can make neither rhyme nor reason of the words.  The melodies are too dissonant for my audible range and my hearing capabilities.  But, this is not a critique of rap music.  I am simply using it as an example.  

The Pop Music article in The New Yorker, June 18, 2012, ( discusses the resurgence of political hip-hop.  The caption under the illustration reads “The rapper and producer El P is an elder statesman in a new wave of politically engaged groups.”  The photo is by Zach Gross.  The first time I read it through, I saw it as ‘The rapper and producer El Pis an elder statesman in a new wave of politically engaged groups.’  (The emphasis in both sentences above is solely mine.)  

I thought to myself: Even for a rap artist, isn’t this a bizarre name? 

Obviously, it was my error.  The New Yorker has an unbeatable editorial team.  But it would be an easy error to make.  And it shows what a difference a space can make.  Careful editing and proofreading would ensure proper spacing as well as prevent a host of other “easy” mistakes.

Are you familiar with the Mannekin Pis statue in Brussels?  There is an appealing story behind it, which I won’t recap here.  But if you’re interested in a bit of quirky history, see

When I read El Pis, I thought of the statue.  I doubt that rapper El P would want to be compared to the statue in any way.

El Pis

Mannekin Pis statue
Brussels, Belgium

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