By Zach Thomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 29, 1997

Apology/ Correction

Remember that column on the bunk of bureaucracies last Thursday ("Buried in Bureaucracy")?

They are bunk, and so was it. Well, part of it anyway.

You know why? I got my facts wrong... not very wrong, but wrong enough to be noticed by dozens of people around campus.

That's not only embarrassing but probably the worst thing any self-respecting journalist can do.

I paraphrased a Humanities professor predicting "the fall of American civilization within 100 years." I thought of it as rhetorical hyperbole, and didn't pay enough attention to it.

Thing is, he didn't say it as I wrote it.

Dr. Richard Wilkinson, the only Egyptologist in the humanities department, told his class that throughout history, empires inevitably come to an end - sometimes bogging down in bureaucracy between 300 and 400 years after their inception.

As he told me later, America may have the propensity to fall, or it may not. 'Tis simple as that - nothing as hard and fast as "100 years."

Lest he be bombarded by further phone calls or develop the (somewhat-cool) nickname, "Armageddon Man," I wanted to correct my error in a way other than the standard "Clarification."

While Dr. Wilkinson has agreed not to sue the Arizona Daily Wildcat under libel and false light statutes, it remains that the modern media is quick to blow an issue out of proportion or take a quote out of context.

While my mistake was naïve extrapolation, it was no less wrong than paparazzi taking photos of a dying Diana or the tabloid press feeding the public what it wants to see, with no regard for what it needs as news.

But there is one thing of which I'm sure.

Be it in 100 years or after 3,000, top-heavy bureaucracies like our own federal government's inevitably lead to bunk. Period.

- Zach Thomas


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