Saturday, March 13, 2004

It's Sunday somewhere

Here's William Safire's language column for tomorrow. He has a bit on copy editors, where he tries to pay his penance for his article "Let's Kill All the Copy Editors!"
Copy! Copy editors win no popularity contests. Writers and reporters, under their breath, denounce those strict monitors of usage, spelling and grammar as rigid smarty-pants second-guessers who eviscerate lusty copy with their grim adherence to prissy stylebooks. I once contributed to this vilification with a piece that I titled, in an allusion to a Shakespearean villain’s derogation of lawyers, “Let’s Kill All the Copy Editors.”
He then tells a joke that I've heard before but isn't bad. It involves St. Peter and wings.
I pass that on as my penance, and in the fond hope that my copy editor has not changed the word piece -- a current term of art used above thrice in defiance of the stylebook—to the bland article. (She has not, her heavy wings proving not incapable of bending. . . just this one time.)
Copy-editing mentions aside, the "piece" is good, about cherry-picking and intelligentsia.