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My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.
You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.
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Saturday, January 10, 2009
I'm working on the third edition of a book. The second edition had a timeline dating from 6000 BCE to 2006. For the third edition, a new group of editors swooped in at the last moment and made some updates. The headline for the new timeline reads "6000 BCE to ACE 2008."
Ummm . . . what?
A few different thought processes went into this.
1. "Well, we said BCE, so we need to set it off with whatever its parallel would be."
2. "We are aware enough that if we were to use 'AD,' it would precede the date rather than follow it." (For this I give them two points.)
3. "If BCE appends the first number, then it would make sense that ACE would append the second number."
Well intentioned, huh?
I asked the in-house managing editor about this when I saw it, and per told me, "Before the Common Era and After . . ."
I'm ashamed to say I didn't let per finish the thought before "No, no, no" came out of my mouth. Can I occasionally be a jerk? Yes, indeed.
If you're new to all this, BCE/CE is for folks who want to deChristianize our modern Western calendar system. Instead of BC (before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord), you use BCE and CE (for Before the Common Era and the Common Era). How this helps, I've never really understood, because you're still defining the "Common Era" by the singular event of Jesus of Nazareth's birth, which isn't universally heralded, to say the least.
Once we get past the general confusion about Jesus perhaps actually being born in 4 or 6 BC, which I'm not even sure the calendar shifts can account for, we can begin to wonder about what "After the Common Era" might mean. I'll give you a minute or so to ponder this phrase.
. . .
Anyone want to venture a guess when the Common Era might have come to a close? Elvis on Ed Sullivan? Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis reunited on the Labor Day Telethon? Hendrix playing the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock? Any freaking minute now?
Has anyone else ever seen ACE? Have I totally missed the boat? I've been corrected before, so I'll take my lumps again.
But wait. I just found this. There appears to be some slight precedent, but at least one person agrees with me. See post 5 of 19 and the replies.
Would someone with some sense chime in here? Moi? Don? Chip, you ever seen this?
PS: One of my favorite jokes. You might need to live in a relatively large population center to understand it. I'm not sure it would get many chuckles here in Bristol:
The Jewish calendar is now at 5769. The Chinese calendar is at 4706. What did Jews do for 1063 years without Chinese food?