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Glory to the Editors!

I know she would be too modest to write this herself, but this Salon essay on the art of editing applies to Jewcy in the following way: It's a lung-filled tribute to our Features Editor Izzy Grinspan: In any case, … Read More

By / July 30, 2007

I know she would be too modest to write this herself, but this Salon essay on the art of editing applies to Jewcy in the following way: It's a lung-filled tribute to our Features Editor Izzy Grinspan:

In any case, real editing is something different. It takes place before a piece ever sees the light of day — and it's this kind of painstaking, word-by-word editing that so much online writing needs. If learning how to be edited is a form of growing up, much of the blogosphere still seems to be in adolescence, loudly affirming its identity and raging against authority. But teenagers eventually realize that authority is not as tyrannical and unhip as they once thought. It's edited prose, with its points sharpened by another, that will ultimately stand the test of time. There is a place for mayfly commentary, which buzzes about and dies in a day. But we don't want to get to the point where the mayflies and mosquitoes are so thick that we can't breathe or think.

The art of editing is running against the cultural tide. We are in an age of volume; editing is about refinement. It's about getting deeper into a piece, its ideas, its structure, its language. It's a handmade art, a craft. You don't learn it overnight. Editing aims at making a piece more like a Stradivarius and less like a microchip. And as the media universe becomes larger and more filled with microchips, we need the violin makers.

 

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