Friday, August 3, 2012

What copy editors have in common with tuna fish

   In the year and a half since I was rescued from the discard heap of unemployment by the New Britain Herald, I've noticed that some of my colleagues who are half my age (but they're catching up ... in twelve years they'll be three quarters of my age, but don't quote me on that, I was never good at math), and even some of my contemporaries, have just a little bit of difficulty in the placement of commas. For those more advanced in years it's a little late to try and effect a change since, like me, they'll be voluntarily out to pasture in the next few years, and with the younger crew, there's no one there to correct the results of their college professors' neglect.
   That said, I've been noticing more and more simple grammatical errors on the Internet, where you'd think that the people posting the news would at least have a college education.
   Cut to the chase: The following paragraph was on the Yahoo main news page, and is likely a transcript of a video of Christiane Amanpour bemoaning the inevitable demise of the world's tuna population because we eat too much sushi.

      "Sushi: The Global Catch, a new film from documentarian Mark Hall takes an in depth look at how the growth of the international sushi industry, which exploded in America in the 1980's, has lead to a dramatic depletion of our oceans fish supply. Hall was inspired to make the film when he witnessed the popularity of Sushi in Eastern Europe during a trip to Warsaw, Poland, and was amazed at how fast sushi's popularity has spread."

   The above paragraph is missing a comma, misspells "led" and neglects to make "oceans" possessive, although they're not going to possess much anyway if we keep eating sushi. And perhaps I'm rushing to judgment in concluding that the craft of copy editing is headed in the same direction as the world's supply of tuna ... Hello? My order from Sushi Heaven is here? Thank you, I'll be right down ... Excuse me. After all, I might be overlooking the possibility that the transcription of Ms. Amanpour's video might have been done by voice recognition software, in which case, not bad at all. ... Hello, Sushi Heaven? You forgot to send an eggroll with my bluefin tuna and wild sockeye salmon platter ... What? You don't make eggrolls, but you'll be happy to send a miso soup? Put a sockeye in it.

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