Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The frustrating horrors of editing bad writing, Orson Scott Card rhapsodizes about Harry Potter

Woo-hoo! I emailed a link to Jason Kottke of kottke.org suggesting he checkout this site and especially its link to The Top 100 Overlooked Movies of the 1990's...and he published the link on his blog today! I know it's really no big deal, but it makes me feel like no, I'm not living in a Truman Show world where I'm totally cut off from the outside. God, I would be trapped in suburbia if it weren't for the internet--I wouldn't know anything about comics or obscure books or Aztec and Norse gods or the intricacies of my favorite books (shout-out to message boards!) and I most certainly wouldn't have any good music if not for the ease of internet sharing and buying.

Listening to Fountains of Wayne's album Welcome Interstate Managers. I especially like Bright Future in Sales and Peace and Love ("Maybe I'll just move up to Vermont / Open up a bookstore or a vegan restaurant"--hah!)

This whole week is Layout Week with the school paper, so I've been after school copy editing. God, they let anyone submit articles (which I understand...) and a lot of these people REALLY don't know how to write. I'm talking rudimentary. There are the requisite spelling mistakes, then/than errors, and apostrophe and comma screw-ups, but in addition there's also JUST PLAIN TERRIBLE WRITING. One article will use "I," "you," "we," "they," "students," "one," and "him or her" all to refer to the same entity. There are copious amounts of exclamation points and quotes that are clearly invented; everything--EVERYTHING--is in passive voice; sentence after sentence beginning in "that is," "there is," etc...oh, I could go on. Here are a few tastes of some of the cleverer stupid sentences from today alone:

"Tests, which is obvious from what their name means, are to test us." (You don't say!)

"With few exceptions, I rarely take a math test without a graphing calculator." (Redundantly redundant, anyone?)

"So therefore our school is like a tossed salad because we have Russians and Azns and African-Americans and Indian people all tossed together like crutons and salad dressing and lettuce and tomatoes." ('nuff said)

"Really, I would have to say that it would be truly awesome if we could leave the school grounds during our free periods since only the Seniors smoke and drink and drive and stuff." (Really? You WOULD have to say if...?--come to think of it, DO you have to say this? And thanks for clarifying that it would certainly not be FALSELY awesome. Also, great argument for increasing privileges. Gawd.)

In addition, most of the articles were on very boring topics such as the radical new complaints "Our teachers test us too much and I just forget the stuff anyways" and "We should be let to utilize graphing calculators and other advanced technology-tools on math tests because otherwise it takes too long." Oh, so eloquent.

Sorry about that rant. I guess that's just High School journalism for you; good thing the kids have my sister and I--the ONLY copy editors, dammit!--to ruthlessly rewrite their horrible articles. Oh well, at least now when their parents proudly read the paper they won't be embarassed by their children's ineptness.

On a cooler note (heh), there's finally snow on the ground around here and although this means that all my extremities are freezing off, it also means that the landscape looks quite festive and December-ish.

And here's Orson Scott Card's thoughts on Harry Potter--he is literally the only writer or critic I've ever seen really praising the books in the rapturous and defensive way that I do. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Although upon greater thought, perhaps he's just already bitter at the literati for shunning sci-fi the way they do. Ah well. All praise Harry Potter.

Finally, here's a funny "Fight Censorship" t-shirt from the CBLDF. Happy %@!$#&ing holidays.

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