Saturday, June 30, 2007


It's a little unnerving to realize that, as much as I believe that I've backed everything up in this Year of Hard Drive Crashes (p.s.: my backup drive that's less than a year old stopped working this week, making a total of 4 drives involving 3 computers so far this year), some things are just plain missing. Some I have in paper form and have rescanned into the computer.

I got a set of proofs recently for a small, fairly straightforward project, though, and although I usually like to compare them with the originals, the originals were among those vanished papers. There may be a paper version deep in the bowels of a file cabinet somewhere, but instead, I just read them through and made the few corrections based on the how the text read.

From editor friends of mine, I've heard of contributors to journals or collections who 'll go to the barricades in defense of their own wording. I'll do that, too, if there's something major. (The "major" test is this: would I squirm with embarrassment if this article came out under my name with that sentence construction or word choice?) Sometimes the editors introduce errors that lead to a fury of "stet" markings. Mostly, though, I figure that if it sounds like my language and isn't factually incorrect, it's all right with me.

I hate to think where this places me on the scale of "proof Puritan" to "proof slut," though. What do the rest of you do?


StupendousWoman said...

Because I have done quite a bit of proofreading myself, I feel I am both more accomodating with the decent editors and proofreaders and more impatient with well... the incompetent ones.
I recently had an article commented on, and the comments and revisions were so clearly politically oriented that it felt like some kind of farce!
It seems that word choice is, more often than not, a political choice.

undine said...

stupendouswoman, were they politically oriented as in gender and race or as in anti-theory? I had a reviewer go ballistic one time because I used the word "foregrounded."

StupendousWoman said...

Politically, as in: the reviewer felt that the theories we -- the co-writer and I -- referred to were too much related to captalism (and yet, our point of view on these theories was already critical: my guess is, the reviewer would have preferred we not mention these theories at all!)

I really can't grasp what is wrong with the word “foregrounded”, though...

undine said...

For the reviewer, apparently "foregrounded" = "one of those theoryheads who are ruining the True Interpretation of Literature."