July 28, 2008

This Doesn't Happen Here

My string of jokes about non-existent editors at ThreeSources (which a real editor would have spiked) have to come to a close. ["come to a close?" how about "stop?" -- ed]

Giles Coren is mightily pissed off. I can tell because he starts his Guardian piece "I am mightily pissed off."

It seems an editor for the Times Magazine removed the word "a" from his article. Coren makes a lengthy and family-inappropriate explanation of why this was wrong.

Hat-tip: Galley Slave Jonathan V Last who says "There are few things in the world as silly as a pretentious writer. Man is a vain animal, but writers have their own special sort of vanity. For exhibit 1,116, I submit this newspaper writer's tirade against a copy editor for removing an indefinite article--an "a"--from his copy."

Posted by John Kranz at July 28, 2008 4:57 PM

Although Giles has clearly gone off the deep end, The Refugee has some sympathy. While generally deeply grateful for good editing (God knows he needs it), The Refugee can recall a pissing contest with a novice editor who wanted to change the meaning of a sentence. It was a technical subject not open to interpretation. After a four-day battle of dictionaries, the editor finally conceded that it's the writer who lives or dies by the result.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 29, 2008 3:51 PM

Apparently he had nothing else to write this time. Sheesh! All the bleeder had to do was quickly explain the difference the "a" made, and that it ruined his poor attempt at a joke. Instead, he sounds like Krugman trying to defend an idiotic analysis of a statistic. As Jefferson said, never use two words when only one will do. Or in this case, pages to rant about what two sentences would have done.

He never ends a sentence on an unstressed syllable. Yeah. "[bleep] [bleep] [bleep] [bleep]" certainly counts as stressed, doesn't it?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 29, 2008 4:21 PM

Oh yeah, I am a thin-skinned, moderately vain copywriter. I have cried and tantrummed on many occasions because a subtle meaning or a meter was broken by a stupid client or coworker.

Maybe it's for the best that I changed lines of work. And let the record show that while The Refugee has been empowered to edit my writing on quite a few occasions, I never remember a single argument.

But in the end, Mr. Coren, you have to let go. As JVL includes in his post, it takes a lot of folks to put out a magazine, Giles should learn to play a little better with others.

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2008 7:20 PM | What do you think? [3]