Eldridge Spearman, Fauntroy's press aide who distributed both versions, said the one that mentioned only Fauntroy has "the result of a typist who was confused."
TODAY, WITH GREAT RELIEF and a sense of historic moment, we hail the appearance-at last-of a figure for whom all of Washington has been waiting these many years: the Confused Typist. The manner in which she at last came to a yearning, questing political city is almost inconsequential. She was invoked by Delegate Fauntroy's press assistant, Mr. Spearman, by way of explaining an otherwise inexplicable foul-up-and one that didn't make Del. Fauntroy look very good. How come Mr. Fauntroy had seemed, in a press release he put out, to be hogging the political credit for an enterprise on which a number of other political figures were also working? Enter the Confused Typist.
Our first question for her is this: Where have you been? It is almost incredible that in this international center of dagger-work and dodging so many of us call home, life has managed to go on at all without her. The alternatives have been rotten. The classic press aide with his unending emendations ("What the Secretary meant to say . . . ") has long been without standing. And the last truly imaginative attempt to fill the voiid was rather too imaginative. We have in mind Gen. Alexander Haig's ethereal scapegoat known only as the "sinister force," whom he introduced, as we recall, when a worrisome question arose about who might have erased some 18 1/2 minutes from a fairly hot White House tape. The Sinister Force, as was to be expected, bombed out on his first try-too weird, too sci-fi for the bureaucracy, not plausible. But scapegoatwise, the Confused Typist is something else. Plausibility is her middle name.
You will have noticed that we assume the Confused Typist is a woman. This is not because we are sexists. It is because we are realists. But the reality we have in mind is not that women get most of the typing that is assigned in this city. It is that they get most of the blame for what goes wrong. This, of course, has been true at least since time began ("the woman . . . she gave me of the tree and I did eat"), and we think the assumed flibberty-gibbet battiness of the Confused Typist as female will in fact help her do her job better. We welcome her to town. We will be writing about some of her more enterprising initiatives as they occur. There is a terrible rumor around town already that she is working on the president's energy message.