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When I am Copyeditor General ...: July 2008


No one will paint on the roof of my mouth

You may be familiar with my other blog, in which I write about food. I'm also learning, slowly but surely, how to take better photographs of the dishes I create/consume.

But as I recently discovered, it's not enough that I use two forms of creativity to capture my epicurean events. According to a wealth of evidence, I should be painting them as well.

Copyeditor General's ruling: Not only do I need to dig up my ancient paintbox and start blending pigments, I should also allow my color-mixing surface to be pushed, prodded, stretched and generally abused.

This is not a particularly palatable thought; in truth, it leaves rather a sour taste on my palate.


Yogurt will not be duplicitous

One lunchtime last week, my boss Caren came over to my desk, bearing a pot of Greek yogurt.

"I've got one for you!" she said, triumphantly. "Take a look at this."

Yep, looks like yogurt.

"Now read the description."

Copyeditor General's ruling: There's nothing wrong with being a math-averse copywriter; I count myself in that number. But when you're dealing with percentages, it's useful to understand what "0% non fat" means.

Of course, this could just be the world's most unhealthy yogurt.

And congrats to Caren, partly on her upcoming nuptials, but most importantly on being Copyeditor General's Deputy of the Week!


There will be educated people in Harvard Square

When you think Harvard Square, what images come to mind? Okay, probably one of the following:
  • Hordes of tourists in matching crimson sweatshirts from the cart in the subway station;
  • Suburban a-haaaal-turrrnative teens practicing skateboard moves (oops, sorry, they've moved on to parkour now) in the Pit;
  • An inexplicable line of people waiting to get into the decidedly underwhelming Border Cafe;
  • Rami Salami
Okay, yes, those are all true. However, the answer we're looking for: Disciplined intellectuals thriving in a world of high educational expectations, with examples of academic excellence and exactitude at every turn.

Right? Harvard, right? Three hundred and fifty years of graduating people like JFK, T.S. Eliot, Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Atwood, W.E.B Du Bois, Robert Benchley? Shouldn't that somehow rub off on the rest of the population?

Maybe the educational vibes just don't make it as far as the offices of

Copyeditor General's ruling:I suppose I shouldn't have such high expectations. After all, some talented and inspiring people may have wandered Harvard Square as students, but so did Antonin Scalia, Alberto Gonzales, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, Phyllis Schlafly, Bill O'Reilly, Ted Kaczynski ...


Fection will be controlled

Riding the Red Line yesterday, I spotted this ad:

And yes, I learned that it's easier to take photos when the train is not hurtling through a tunnel. Once we reached next station, I was able to get a clearer shot:

How should this have been handled? Take your pick:

  • QC Pathfinder is the industry leader in infection control
  • QC Pathfinder is the industry leader[comma] infection control
  • QC Pathfinder is the industry-leading infection control
And I'm not completely convinced about the last one.

Copyeditor General's ruling: I hope their infection control solution is better than their copyediting. Otherwise it's Outbreak time.
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