Lost Arts

1. Parking

Does anyone know how to park any more? I’m not talking about parallel parking, which if it is a tight enough squeeze can confound even an experienced driver. I’m not deft behind the wheel myself — I can’t see and my reaction times are crap, so I don’t drive at night or on high speed roads — but I do know how to position a vehicle between two white lines on the pavement. It isn’t complicated. Nonetheless, every parking lot that I drive into has a couple of vehicles athwart the boundary between two spaces, or so close to the adjacent space that you don’t want to risk it. Is everyone in that big a hurry?

Just my current gripe.

2. Copyediting

As elsewhere noted, I love crap science-fiction, and have been diverting myself lately with a paperback series covering the parts of the old “Babylon 5” TV series that didn’t make it into the script. Amusing stuff. But a good copy editor would have gently informed the creator of the story that the spunky ingenue in the Centauri Prime story thread bore the name of a popular laxative herb. “Lady Senna,” indeed.

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6 thoughts on “Lost Arts

  1. 1) No, they can’t, and 2) I will admit to having not alerted people to things like that in manuscripts if I didn’t like the piece, and/or I thought that the target audience might be stupid. That may…or may not…have been at work there. (Granted, the target audience for sci-fi isn’t stupid, but…the copy editor might have had a different opinion.) One of my ongoing complaints is TV that has unusually intelligent characters who get things wrong—“Gilmore Girls” is a good example; superintellectual Rory pronounces PG Wodehouse’s last name incorrectly; the socialites don’t know the difference between afternoon tea and high tea; et cetera.

    • My suspicion is more that — as becomes increasingly apparent in the daily press — people are writing copyeditors right out of the budget. Self-publishing companies like the one you contract for, who know what they’re up against with their clients, may be the last refuge.

      • But I think it’s also that copyeditors are themselves less-educated than they used to be. I have a couple of friends who are professional copyeditors for major houses, and I am consistently amazed by what they don’t know, and don’t notice.

  2. Seems a mostly American thing. Here we just leave our car in the middle of the road to nip into the bank or papershop or chemist. Not exactly parking, is it? You’ll likely lose your wing mirror anyway.
    I’ve been doing some story editing for a friend, and it is hard as I’d like to point out things but don’t want to be too pedantic.

  3. Eh, what do they Centauri know of laxatives anyway. The Vorlons, they’d know better.

    I could have used a good copy editor for the old blog. I could still use one with what I’m writing now…

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