Creative misreading

In Wednesday’s New York Times (Tom Friedman’s column, “Trust, But Verify”), a sentence with:

… a news article about the Jan. 11 meeting in Cairo between Bill Burns, …

My eyes picked up Ca…ro and then Burn… (in the pair of proper names), and my brain combined these to yield Carol Burnett (the comedian). A moment of puzzlement as to what Carol Burnett had to do with Islamist parties in the Middle East, and then I realized my error.

As far as I can recall, Carol Burnett (or television or comedy) hadn’t been on my mind — misreadings and mishearings are often triggered by things you’re thinking about — so the error remains puzzling, though entertaining.

 

One Response to “Creative misreading”

  1. More misreading | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] from. Or where my misreading of Cairo between Bill Burns as Carol Burnett (reported on this blog, here) came […]

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