April 16, 2008
Is This Heaven? No, It's the Internet
Writer and former editor Michael Kinsley has thrown down the gauntlet at Time magazine.
Editors are selfless, editors believe. They labor in anonymity and take their satisfaction vicariously. The writer gets all the glory. He gets the big bucks. He gets invited to the parties, the openings, the symposia, while the editors toil at their desks turning the writer's random jottings and pretentious stylistic quirks into something resembling English prose. But that's O.K. Editors don't mind. They say, "Have a lovely time at that writers' conference, and we'll have the rewrite done when you get back." ("And your laundry too, you unappreciative b*****d," they mumble under their breath.)**
That's about the kindest he gets in his representation of the editors guild. You can read the whole diatribe here. Fortunately he's focused his ire on the editors of periodical publishing; book editors like yours truly get a pass, but only for the nanosecond it takes for the average reader to extrapolate from one form of publication to another. I feel a bit like Hillary Clinton to Michael Kinsley's Barack Obama. The ultimate indignity he saves for his closing paragraph:
On the Internet, they don't have editors. Or they don't have many. Writers rule, and a thought can go straight from your head onto the Net. That used to sound hellish. Now it sounds like heaven.
I'll keep silent and wait patiently for our authors to leap to our defense. Anyone? Anyone?
**Modesty added for your protection by your friends at Behind the Books.