Monday, May 04, 2009

A New Tag: TTPMO
That would be "Things That Piss Me Off." Today's excursion into pique comes courtesy of my local noisepaper The Washington Times. Specifically, the book reviews in the Sunday paper. Even more specifically, the editing of that section. Let me winkle out a few examples of editorial malpractice for you.
First, in a review of a book called "The Art of The Heist," the find this paragraph:
Recounting his life of violence, theft and depravity, Mr. Connor (per Ms. Siler) speaks as if his criminal modus vivendi is perfectly natural, his God-given right. Quoting Thoreau (without attribution) that "men live lives of quite desperation" he says his "has been anything but."

Yes: "
quite desperation." Good grief.

Then one review with two, count 'em
two glaring errors. First in a very positive review of a Peter Leonard (son of Elmore apparently) work called "Trust Me" is this sentence:
Remember Chili Palmer, the movie-mad debt collector in Leonard the elder's "Get Shorty," who like a Lamars trainer, gently coaches a recipient of his massive blow to the solar plexus how to take short, sharp, breaths...."

I'll ignore the comma after "sharp" because the great thunder of calling "Lamaze" "Lamars" renders me incapable of increased dudgeon. Are there no editors of this page at TW Times? I'm left wondering that again after the final example of crime against language. Another sentence extracted:
Mr. Leonard packs a lot of detail and color into his book and may yet develop his father's mastery of the brushed back strokes, the dialog unspoken and the chrystalline sepia tones they evoke.

We have now descended into full-on WTF territory. "Brushed back strokes?" Can anyone explain that phrase to me? And have it make a lick of sense? Comments are welcomed, hell, encouraged. Then we have "dialog unspoken." Not a great crime against language but clichéd to beat the band (yes, I use a cliché to illustrate my opposition, it's very po-mo and ironic). Then a gross error in spelling only serves to draw our attention the phrase (and let's use the right word, eh?) "crystalline sepia tones." Does ... not ... follow. Sepia tones and crystalline are so fundamentally at odds that it renders the sentence meaningless.
Perhaps the reviewer (identified as "Lelei LeLaulu" which reads like an invented name - or, if real, should be) knew what he or she (?) had in mind but it most definitely wasn't communicated in that sentence. Isn't that what editors are in place to prevent?

1 comment:

Gradual Dazzle said...

Lelei is a loopy lulu.

Living in a fairly ruralish area, I often see misspelled signs. I expect them. Most of these guys are relatively uneducated and are unconcerned with correct spelling and grammar. No big deal, really -- I'd rather the guy do a good job fixing my car or plumbing, I don't care how he spells.

I do NOT, however, expect to see them in a major newspaper which one would hope is populated with people who ARE educated and whose job is specifically word-related.