For the most part, we’re big fans of editors. We firmly believe that they are sexy people, among the most underappreciated people ironing out the English language. Beyond functioning as a seminal second set of eyes, a good editor can save a writer’s ass (often with the writer unaware), tear an inflexible hothead a new one, or encourage a dispirited voice. Hell, we wish this blog had a damn editor so we’d refrain from rampant grammatical mistakes. (And please, dear readers, if you ever want to fact check our asses — as opposed to Xeroxing them — then we invite you to weigh in.)
Unfortunately, even a pan from a dependable river has its dregs. We refer our readers to the Cinetrix, who has revealed the horrors of bright and talented people being dumbed down by the pivotal magazines of our time, let alone criticized by readers who don’t appreciate the phrase “semaphore of pulchritude” in a major magazine.
Bill Bradley, assistant managing editor at the Nashville Tennesseean, noted recently that a Tom Colleen, Vandy resume story was changed, but the changes weren’t sports-related. And then there’s the Washington Post‘s desperate stab to draw readers: keep the stories shorter and add photographs. Which solves two problems in one go: you can cut down on editorial workload and give the people who hate fancy phrases the paper they want all in one go!
For our own part, we still plan to throw around the ten-cent word every now and then. And, yes, Mr. Birnbaum, that includes “jejune.”
But we still can’t help but wonder if there’s a happier medium between a well-edited paper and an independent site that shoots from the hip.