Why You Always Double-Check Quotes

Even the best of editors and copy-editors can miss something.

There is a lovely July 4 opinion piece, "The Country I Love,"  in The New York Times It's written by the first Indian-American woman to serve in Congress, Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state. She details her complicated journey to U.S. citizenship. Despite setbacks along the way, Jayapal was overcome by her powerful emotions on reciting the nationalization oath. It is a strong piece about the immigrant experience in America.

Which makes it even more irritating that they managed to mangle the words of the Emma Lazarus poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty. Somehow, "your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" morphed into "tired masses." 

It's understandable actually:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

So it should serve as a reminder to double-check your quotes -- no matter how well you know them. 

Plus it's an good excuse to re-read this wonderful poem.   

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Allison Silver