For anyone who has ever been crassly sub-edited, Giles Coren's very angry and wonderfully pedantic letter to the Times' subs is a cathartic must-read (via the snowblog).

Readers Comments

  1. Is it post modern to complain about editing standards in a letter that contains so many editorial errors? 'Valency' (first used 1869) for instance, cannot, according to my large dusty dictionary, be 'dual'.

    Still, I'm glad that we're able send our authors proofs before publication.

  2. Kit - is it post-modern to complain in the following way about the removal of an indefinite article - "When you're winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can't you hear? Can't you hear that it is wrong?" - when the sentence from which it has been removed is so poorly constructed & so syntactically clumsy as to make smooth reading virtually impossible? Simply to get to the end of the sentence, with or without the offending article, without stumbling over the mangled grammar & semantics of Coren's prose is a major achievement in itself. Ultimately, what remains is the gulf separating the value of Coren's 'work' from his own estimation of it.

  3. Agree with Robin. Coren has an extraordinary level of smugness and self-satisfaction for a writer with very little to be self-satisfied about.

  4. I'm with you both, too, John. There was a real pleasure in reading Coren's silly, splenetic hissy fit, but before he complains about bad subbing he should certainly learn to write more clearly in the first place.

    The sub editors in question, however, didn't do their job: they should have left in Coren's precious indefinite article, but split his dreadfully garbled sentence in two (or sent it back to him to rewrite it).

  5. I'm with the subs. I'm sure they couldn't give a shit what Coren thinks about his precious prose. They're paid wage-labourers with a job to do, which is to turn the crap writers send in into a saleable commodity, ie, a piece of writing that corresponds to the paper's house-style, that is cut to the right length, that is sent off to the printers before the deadline, and so on. If they had to do all that and nurse the egos of self-important writers as well, they'd go mad. I bet Coren also complains about the service he gets from the nanny and cleaners he gets in and pays the minimum wage to. Fuck him and his stupid jokes and his crappy prose.
    Stuart (a sub)

  6. You are probably safer in Canada or the USA Mr Coren than here in Europe where Jews ( fgovire me if I have got that wrong ) are now Islam's main target, in Malmo, Oslo's schools, Luton, Toulouse and now Manchester where a couple from Oldham's vast Pakistani muslim population have been charged with plotting to attack -nay blow up I believe - Mancunian Jews. In England anti-semitism was always there in terms of barring Jews from golf clubs etc but it did not stop us having Disraeli as our prime minister and nobody ever plotted to kill Jews. Hopefully, we can forget Oswald Moseley's silliness. As regards the inability to teach the Holocaust any more, I am aware that this is spreading amongst education authorities here but did not realise it was also happening in Holland. Is not denying the Holocaust an offence in Holland? I do not think it is in England but if it were to be made so then we would have to build an awful lot of prisons to house every Muslim living here but it would put an end to fears of creeping islamification as faced with the prospect of jail then most would probably up sticks and leave!!

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