It's English, but not as we know it

3 December 2006

For a moment I thought it was next stop schadenfreude as I happened across a post at Sally Flood's Getting Ink blog about Strumpette's idea of having a "copy journalist sub the copy posted by a 'communications' expert".

However, the guilty pleasure was shortlived as I noticed a comment from Rob Buckley about the sub-editor's stone-casting credentials:

"(WHY THE PASSIVE VOICE?)" in reference to "a serious newspaper is grappling", when that's actively voiced present continuous tense..."

Strumpette aka Amanda Chapel, but is really someone else entirely, claims she/he engaged the services of "a newspaperman to proofread" the copy of Text 100 CEO Aedhmar Hynes. It's strange how Chapel refers to the process as proofreading when he/she was after a copy-edit. I don't know many proofreaders on newspapers. OK, I don't know any. They're generally called sub- or copy-editors because that's what they do. Want a proofreader? Try book publishing.

Apparently, Chapel's 'newspaperman' is not up for any freelance work. That's a relief, because he seems to share Chapel's wayward approach to English.

Take the preceding post on Britney Spears' need for a more discrete form of PR where, apparently the flack "must be facile with blogging and podcasting" and would be advised to have "Turrets Syndrome". OK, I can guess the name that was meant to go with "syndrome" there, but I'm having some difficulty working out which word Chapel was reaching for when she/he alighted on "facile".

Back to our anonymous sub:

"(WRONG WORD. “LITANY” IS NOT A MERE PLURAL ADJECTIVE LIKE “HOST.” THE WORD MEANS “A LIST OF COMPLAINTS OR PROBLEMS.” NOT QUITE RIGHT IN THIS CONTEXT.)

Err...right. May I recommend a dictionary for Christmas for the Chapel household? There should be a word that means "a list of complaints or problems" but litany is not it. Maybe a "tedious recital" or a "series of prayers", but not what Chapel, er, Chapel's sub thinks it is.

The piece goes on in the same vein, and makes you wonder whether Hynes is all that bad as a writer. That illusion does soon go away when you look at the original but I feel I might need a dictionary from a parallel universe should I ever come across work from the pen of Strumpette in real life.

2 Comments

Nice try. Lame, but nice try.

Good for you.

- Amanda Chapel

Brian,

Stop pretending to be a woman and grow up.