Wouldn’t it make you want to SCREAM?

August 23, 2010 at 3:19 am (Uncategorized)

Yes, for those of you who are interested in such things, I am planning to post on the results of the federal election – and maybe under the same headline – but for now what’s making me want to rip out my hair is an incompetent sub. Here’s the email I just sent to my editor:

Hola M

Here’s my invoice, with thanks.

The story looked cool, except a sub inexplicably removed two correct apostrophes:

“There’s the obvious one of the weather – it’s just great – and it’s beautiful”

unfortunately became, “There’s the obvious one of the weather its just great and its beautiful.”

It’s a pretty egregious error. I really hate to bring this sort of thing to your attention, because I am so grateful for the work that the last thing I want to be is a pain in the rear, but this makes *me* look bad, not just the paper. It looks like my error, and it’s not.  It’s hugely frustrating and disappointing, because I worked hard to do a good job, and someone else’s sloppiness has made my work look shoddy, and I have no way of ensuring it won’t happen again. Anyway, I think you should know that your sub doesn’t know the difference between it’s and its, as it’s likely to come up again.

Let’s not talk about the election.

What can I say, friends? This kind of thing GNAWS at me.




  1. charlotteotter said,

    Yes, that would make me want to scream. These people have jobs?

    • doctordi said,

      Not only do they have jobs, Charlotte of the Burg, but they’re apparently getting paid to create errors where there were none – now explain that!

      Everyone has their temper tantrum red rag, and this is mine.

  2. Pete said,

    I have to say that your response is mild compared to Giles Coren’s rant to the Times sub-editors (in case you missed it see http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jul/23/mediamonkey). But how bloody annoying that they stuffed up your sentence like that.

    And what’s with the Aussie election? Is Gillard really as unvonvincing as she appears on the (admittedly very small) clips we get?

    • doctordi said,

      Pete, I think of that classic rant every time it happens – it just says it all! Okay for Giles to sound-off, less okay for a lowly freelancer who’s collecting her first crumbs at the end of a very cold winter… ! I felt like I had to really watch my language – no pun intended.

      For anyone who finds Pete’s link doesn’t work, try again here.

      Gillard – whatever her faults, and god could someone please get her some elocution lessons – is actually as sharp as a tack. A very bright woman. I’m surprised to hear she’s coming across as unconvincing… although she’s probably on eggshells right now. But it’s been one of the biggest problems of this entire fiasco: both Gillard and Abbott have very strong personal convictions – and in many cases, antithetical ones – but they have both run campaigns hell-bent on denying such convictions exist. It’s just totally bogus, and it’s had a paralysing effect on both sides of politics, with both candidates resembling nothing so much as Madame Tussaud’s wax works, complete with frozen smiles and vacant eyes.

      • Pete said,

        Ok, glad to hear she’s better than her latest soundbites. She must obviously be tired and disappointed but those frozen smiles aren’t convincing.

      • doctordi said,

        Well, she’s certainly smarter than she’s sounded all campaign.

        I’d say they’re failing to convince because they’re so treacly and insincere, and no one’s buying this Stepford routine, so why she’s persisting with it is beyond me. Once again I question the advice she’s getting.

  3. litlove said,

    Ouch! I feel your pain.

    But why would anyone alter the punctuation like that? It’s like an infiltration by linguistic saboteurs. I’ve never read the Coren rant – how awful to think this happens all the time.

    • doctordi said,

      All. The. Time. I find it so enraging, LL, because we the writers are just entirely helpless to stop it – off our copy goes, never to be seen again, until it appears in print with glaring implanted errors in it… it makes me SEETHE.

  4. Grad said,

    Sorry about The Case Of The Purloined Apostrophes. I had a similar conversation with someone last year, only it was from someone correcting me in an e-mail that I misused an apostrophe (which I did not). I wanted to tell you, however, that I made the wrap. I was quite proud of my homemade satay sauce. And I used arugula (that may be the same thing as rocket, but I’m not sure.) I forgot to add the cheese, though. What kind do you use? I have parmesan, cheddar and mozarella. I’m thinking the parm…oh, and I couldn’t find rye wraps so I used whole wheat. In fact, I brought one to work for lunch today. Great invention!

    • doctordi said,

      Wow, it’s even better when you’re falsely accused!!! But Graddikins, imagine this same person taking it upon him or herself to *correct* your already correct work, and then print it in something seen by hundreds of thousands of readers under your by-line. It is a professional writer’s single worst nightmare, I think. Certainly mine. I woke up in the middle of the night stewing about it.

      Yay! Go the wrap! Yes, arugula is rocket. Cheese: I generally melt cheddar, but I have used feta and parmesan, too. Try ’em all. I like changing ingredients and judging them from my little panel of one. Hours of fun and foodie satisfaction lies right there.

  5. Lilian Nattel said,

    I know copy-editors who detest commas. But apostrophes–that’s a new one on me. Is it the influence of texting?

    • doctordi said,

      It’s probably the influence of being overworked and underpaid and getting a bit delirious.

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