John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Busy week

You may have been traveling last week, or stunned by Thanksgiving food and drink, and were too distracted to follow this blog. But my hands were busy at the keyboard, and here is a summary of what you may have missed.

Only another copy editor would understand
It is an obscure craft, but there are those who love it.

The Times leads a sheltered life
Don’t show us the money shot.

Just one word: plastic
Once more, with feeling: Foam plastic plates and cups are not made of Styrofoam. You should know this.

These are the rules
Precepts to guide your behavior.

Not news
You can run this stuff — many do — but it’s still shallow and stupid.

Don’t you ever talk about what’s RIGHT with America?
This just in: Copy editors tell you what is wrong with writing.

RED ALERT! RED ALERT!
You may still have time to decide against running that inane story about how much the gifts of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” would cost today. ABC and Today, I’m told, have already done so. But if you paid any attention to the strained banter during the broadcast of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, you know that broadcast television has no shame.

AND SOME TOPICS UNDER CONSIDERATION

Item: Oxford University Press is republishing H.W. Fowler’s original Modern English Usage, which should stimulate discussion of descriptivism, prescriptivism, and peevology.

Item: A comment by Tom Gara — “Aren't readers flocking in droves to online news sources that have no copy editing and drip with average grammar, inconsistent spelling etc?” — has me wondering whether people are posing a false dichotomy between thorough editing and no editing.

Item: College names and upward academic mobility.

1 comment:

  1. Barbara Phillips LongDecember 1, 2009 at 1:07 AM

    The sad part is, PNC has been "indexing" the so-called cost of Christmas since 1984. It isn't just that AP is uninspired, it's that some editor or writer is snapping at the bait every time PNC throws it into the water.

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