Memo to the Wall Street Journal's Blog: When "After" Means Days, Not 22 Years.

Taking the concept of literalness, to ridiculous lengths, here's another oddity from the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto:

Even Including That, the Story Was Accurate
Here’s an odd correction from the Los Angeles Times:

"An article in Sunday’s Section A about Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s role in Congress’ healthcare debate said that Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) had urged his friend to stop drinking after the Massachusetts Democrat’s 1969 car accident at happaquiddick. Hatch gave the advice in 1991, after Kennedy spent an evening at a Florida bar with his nephew William Kennedy Smith, who subsequently was charged with rape and later acquitted."

Why the correction? We’re pretty sure 1991 was after 1969

Are we missing the satire here? Surely Taranto can not claim to mean that when the statement "I urged him to stop drinking after the [fill in very specific event]" somehow does not mean within an appropriate vicinity of time, but "technically" any time after, including decades after.

That would be like, to someone who said "We were over Taranto's house drinking Yuengling when he showed us this kind of crazy column he wrote," saying "so you were in a helicopter over his house drinking?" and meaning it. On second thought, it would be worse.

Here's another example, and one we hope someone can share with Mr. Taranto:

Q: "Why did you never correct your brother's tendency to turn his head away before connecting with the ball?

A: "I did, after the Kingsdale game, junior season."

Only the person did it, 22 years after, the Kingsdale game, junior season.

Of course a correction was necessary by the LA Times: The article unequivocally implied that Hatch had urged Kennedy to stop drinking in a reasonable vicinity of time "after" the 1969 accident, not 22 years later -- and no one reading the article would have thought otherwise. Taranto's logic here, or (to us) incomprehensible satire, is somewhat hard to fathom.