Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Need An Editor

I've just completed reading Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves and after getting through that ordeal my uneasiness with posting has increased greatly (Eats, Shoots & Leaves is the pedant's bible, rather amusing-ish panda joke, and no doubt one could use it to point out about ten punctuation errors in the last sentence alone, also Charlemagne (not the rip off champagne brand, or the one constantly referenced in The Hold Steady Lyrics) invented the question mark, well kind of, you learn something new everyday). I'm pretty sure there is some reference to a missing comma in a telegram that precipitated the Jameson Raid that in turn contributed to the escalation of what would eventually become the Boer War (now as a possible wearer of orthopedic shoes, I may stand corrected... boom boom).

All this has lead me to believe that blog postings in particular stand open to massive misinterpretation, for example that Pat Benatar post of mine may lead someone to believe that I am a massive fan when in fact the punctuation left me down and the tongue wasn't as obviously placed in cheek. The pedant in me is slowly coming out as I have more interaction with editor type people who care about correct grammar (God damn them), also this side of me should have been around when I was trying to write that bloody centralisation thesis!

As with previous musings what I'm attempting to do is somehow work around what was going on in my head to be in some way relevant to my song of the day, and seeing as I'm talking about punctuation there really is only one song that I know which can be shoehorned into my "train" of thought (if there are other pedantic songs let me know). So here is the ever excellent Vampire Weekend and of course Oxford Comma


10 comments:

Sleepy said...

Apostrophe use confuses the arse off me.
I definitely must have truanted apostrophe day!

Neil said...

Ah I think I struggle with English in general

stancarey said...

Hello Neil. Truss is a bit of an extremist, and her ideas lack historical context. You need an antidote!

Neil said...

Stan,
Yeah Truss is a little bit out there alright, but I do feel that some of what she says has value. Obviously she takes it too far but for the panda joke alone it was worth it!

stancarey said...

For sure, she writes a lot of sense a lot of the time. Her dogmatism is unhelpful though.

Neil said...

Good point. Dogmatism is always unhelpful in nearly every walk of life. However with editing (and I may be wrong) doesn't that iron rule have to exist especially to ensure consistency across large volumes of work even at the cost of meaning?

Stan said...

It depends on the rule, but there are fewer iron-clad ones than is sometimes supposed. Rules and guidelines change over time, and at any one time grammarians and great writers differ in how they interpret the rules!

Neil said...

Ah yes, the clash of the titans! Writers vs. editors, and somehow I'm always caught in the middle...

Stan said...

Ironically, my last comment was very unclear. I meant that there were (and always are) irreconcilable differences not just between writers and grammarians, but among them. Look at Bernard Shaw's hatred for apostrophes, for example, or Shakespeare's inconsistency in spelling his own name.

Neil said...

I agree totally. Anybody who has put that much effort and thought into creating something will hold it dearly while editors also believe they are improving on the work. Never the twain shall meet, as they say. Great blog by the way. Ireland and censorship was a cracking post!