Huh. Wow. Sheesh!

Well, I promised myself I wouldn’t do any blog posts for a few days because I’m insanely busy trying to finish two manuscripts and packing the house.

But, dear readers, I apparently have insufficient powers of will. Or an insufficient ability to delay gratification. Or something.

And I’ve been thinking how I set myself up here in blogland as someone involved with Waldorf/anthroposophy and book editing, neither of which I have mentioned at all recently. (Nice rationalization for a post, huh?)

* * * **

I just caught this in my feed reader from the always amusing OUP Blog Friday Procrastination Link Love.

A British writer was quite unamused when a copy editor removed an “a” from the last sentence of his restaurant review. One. indefinite. article. So unamused that I can merely link to the letter he sent to the editors instead of copying it here, due to both its length (1,000 words!) and use of rather adult language. Like “****ed up” and “illiterate ****” and “it’s not ******* rocket science”, and the ever-popular “**** off” and “****up”.

And the editors’ response to him was equally amusing, with its mentions of “useless ****” and “you insignificant little ****wit”.

I’m glad that the writer takes his work seriously, down to the stress on certain words and subtle meanings and double entendres. (Remember, dear readers, it’s a restaurant review.) And I’m glad that the editors responded with aplomb.

And I’m glad that editing doesn’t always have to be dry, lifeless nitpicking over arcane rules.

Thank you, irate UK journalists and editors. I needed some humor today.

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Filed under editing, Silliness and Mayhem

9 responses to “Huh. Wow. Sheesh!

  1. Oh, that was a good laugh.

    It is so interesting how people take themselves so seriously and feel that they can treat others in that manner simply because they are so luminously amazingly better than everyone else. In the end, it is called karma. So if his ‘what goes around’ does indeed ‘come around’, it will be quite the spectacle!

    Great links! 🙂

  2. “Giles Coren is a sanctimonious little t*** who needs to get over himself” could be quite costly in T-shirt lettering”. It is all too funny!

    I actually let myself read both of those letters, thanks for the links. They were both rather amusing, I really needed that.

  3. I told myself I wasn’t going to blog, or read any blogs today either, but I to have insufficient powers of will. 😉 I hope you haven’t ever had to deal with writers like Giles Coren! Wow! That guy is wound up tight!

  4. Needing humour as well! Sounds like some gratuitous fun! Off I go to check it out!!!

  5. Eve

    Funny and entertaining on both sides; the writer’s rudeness ought to have been checked. He seems to have fired off an email while still in the heat of his outrage.

    I don’t fall on the editing side, though. I’m with the writer. Minus the “fucks” and “twats,” what he said is (I think) so true. It doesn’t matter that it was “just a restaurant review.” It was what he was assigned to write for that week (presumably); a good writer gives his best, or tries to, even if only in a 500 word restaurant review.

    Granted, this particular writer may just be a narcissistic, “sanctimonious little —” you know. But, on the other hand, maybe he’s aspired to be a really good writer. A really good writer actually does concern him- or herself with the very last sentence. I know I have sometimes spent hours or even days over a final sentence. One does that if one is serving the reader.

    And then some idiot editor comes along and changes one little word, which actually can make a big difference to the intention, meaning, and cleverness of the entire piece, as this writer explained.

    It’s a shame that he made an ass of himself. He may actually be an ass type of person. Or he may actually be a decent writer who reacted too passionately about his missing word in his insignificant little restaurant review. But I point to the principle of “he who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is careless over a very little thing is careless also in much.” Put another way, as Einstein said, God reveals Himself in details. While it seems clear that spirituality is the last thing on this particular writer’s mind, and that the lashing he received from the editors was deserved, I’m still sympathetic to him. I have had similar feelings about having my work changed, too; I just didn’t fire off angry emails afterward.

  6. Eve

    P.S. See how easy it is to go over into “idiot editor” polarization? I just did it myself. Talk about a love-hate relationship . . . As Rodney King asked, “Why can’t we just get along?” ;o)

  7. Frankly, I read both letters and laughed hard, especially the t-shirt lettering. and The Author was a sanctimonious twit. Frankly, as a reader I definitely would not have gotten his “joke”, and even when it was explained I didn’t think it was all that funny, and why is it germane to a restaurant review anyway?

  8. Nana

    message for Henitsirk:
    When someone first gets hearing aids there are lots of ambient sounds which can be very disturbing and may take awhile to become accustomed to.

    A flushing toilet sounds like Niagara Falls; passing traffic sounds ever-so-close and fearsome; and on and on.

    So please let Silly Billy get used to his hearing gradually – it’s not so scary that way. After all, my brilliant, beautiful, brave grandson is still a little guy.

    One good thing is that when we take our hearing aids out at night, we sure sleep well!

  9. Dawn: No, luckily I haven’t ever worked with someone like that. Much of the time I never even work directly with the author, just the publisher.

    Eve: Yes, I agree with you in principle that the author was striving for quality writing, and that the meaning was very important in this case. But…how cruel and unprofessional! We’re all humans here, we make mistakes, or sometimes we use our best judgment and still make mistakes. Seems to me this author has had an adversarial attitude toward editors for a while now, probably.

    HMH: Clearly it was a fairly subtle, location-specific joke. And hey, I like that he’s trying to write well for a kind of column that so often lacks literariness. But, then, some perspective is always helpful….

    Nana: You must be referring to the tearful phone call the other day! I am happy to report that after we suggested your idea of wearing his hearing aids for a longer time each day, the very next day he willingly and voluntarily wore them all day, and has every day since! Now if I could only get his dehumidifier/sanitizer doohickey to work….

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