Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Mentality of the Editor

The copy editor, like a testosterone-crazed male cat, likes to mark his territory. His territory is your manuscript. But like a cat, he is lazy and easily bored, which leads to inconsistency. He starts out changing every occurrence of ‘identical with’ to ‘identical to,’ but then tires of this game so that the end result is a mishmash. He would have spared himself the bother had he appreciated the simple fact that in the English language ‘identical with’ and ‘identical to’ are stylistic variants of each other.

My advice to editors: stick to questions of formatting, and the correction of obvious spelling and grammatical errors. Keep your political correctness to yourself. Don’t try to be what the Germans call a Besserwisser: don’t presume to know better what I want to say and how I want to say it. My writing is an exacting labor of love; your editing is a lousy chore you can’t wait to be done with.