Friday, February 10, 2012

Who Will Edit the Editors?

Roman poet Juvenal asked "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" Who will guard the guardians? Here was a guy who understood human nature. In this time when we so often defer to experts, it's good to keep in mind that we are all caught in the snare of feeble humanity. Even those experts.

I've been reminded of this bit of wisdom lately while visiting blogs on writing. Sure, anybody can put their two cents out into the blogosphere ("Right you are, Word Crank!"), but if you're writing about writing, wouldn't you think you'd try to write right?

Don't misunderstand. I'm not pointing a shocked finger and saying "How dare you, sir?" In many cases I know how they dare—it was a mental blip that spellcheck was unable to detect. This happens to me, too. Yes. (I know you're stunned.)

That's what happened to a guy who has an excellent blog that calls the Writer's Digest Web site its home. You can't have a better platform than that, for credibility and traffic. Even so, he wrote: "Plus, remember this key tenant of marketing: …"

Is the key tenant the guy in the corner office? Don't all the tenants have keys?

Other mistakes are harder to explain. Actually they are easy to explain. They are just harder to forgive.

Here's a published author analyzing the appeal of cozy mysteries: "The heroes are real people, ordinary citizens like you or I…" Ick. I know we hear this horrendous misuse of the first person pronoun a lot these days, but come on, writers. We're better than that.

Now this one I have a harder time understanding: "I'm currently looking for anybody who is in the process of promoting their first novel, either through a mainstream publishing house or through the self-publishing route, who would be willing to share a little bit about themself…"

Themself? Spellcheck would definitely catch that. As I write it, it has put an angry dotted line beneath this pseudo-word.

Letting that ridiculous mistake make it onto the Information Superhighway is like walking out the front door with your shoes on the wrong feet and your dress on backwards. Sure, you're dressed, but you're not inspiring confidence.

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