Thursday, June 09, 2005

A Little Good-Natured Belittling

In case your self-esteem has gotten a little too high, fellow copy editors, try this. Or maybe this.

Montopoli is right, of course, that a Mrs. Robinson allusion was a bad idea for the Anne Bancroft headlines. Those of you who became editors for reasons other than "it might lead to a reporting gig down the road," or who have thinnish skins, might prefer the way the point is made at A Capital Idea and Testy Copy Editors.


Stephen Jones said...

Regarding the "Dispatches From Tangyanika" link where the author complains about his proof reader, it does seem to me that one of the two doesn't understand the use of colons: I can think of few occasions when a colon and semi-colon are interchangeable :)

As for the writer having to compare his version with the corrected proofs, either the publisher or the author should learn about the 'track changes' feature of their pariticular Word Processor.

Carl V. Natale said...

Every copy editor has a cliche obit or two stashed away for the occaisional celebrity death. Don't they? OK, I confess.

"They" wouldn't let me use "We won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more" as a headline. Of course that was after a spirited debate over what the quote really was. At least let me rewrite the lead.

I do wish I worked the desk the night Douglass Adams died. "So long and thanks for all the fish"

Not that I wish ill upon any one - especially former Beatles - but how many of us are going to write "Paul is dead" on that obituary? But how many people would get it these days?


Is hiring?

aparker54 said...

Here's a relevant piece from a delightful Geoffrey Pullum rant, "Publishers are good; really!":

"The publisher's editor had been rather snippy about the fact that it was not permissible to make changes in the text, only to correct what were clearly typos. But when the proofs arrived the author discovered to his astonishment that there had been a copy-editing process that he had not at any point been told about. And it had made fairly significant changes to some aspects of the text. In certain cases they were more than just significant. One whole chapter was about the weird and wonderful distortions of normal English orthographic and stylistic conventions devised by kids using Internet Relay Chat. With an idiocy that may seem almost incredible, the many examples of this had been carefully copy-edited to make them conform to the usual conventions of printed academic prose, ruining their whole point.

"(I say this may seem incredible, but I have heard very similar stories elsewhere: for example, an anthropological monograph by a UCSC colleague that was loaded with transcripts of spoken testimony by uneducated peasants, on which full academic English correction of all the language in the transcripts had been perpetrated by a copy editor whose work had to be undone in its entirety at the proof stage.)"