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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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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Organization Man


I’ve been wanting to write two posts for quite a while, and I’ve figured out a way to combine them. Now if I can just write.

The issues deal with authors providing proper guides through their books. Such guides come in different forms.

1. Author/date citations. Authors, take note: An author/date citation (e.g., Jones 2009) is intended to, and must do no more than, provide a marker to an exact place in a properly compiled Works Cited list, or maybe a References list, if no other Jones 2009 appears. As a copyeditor or proofreader, I dont want any other information except author and date, except a page number for a quote or “emphasis added” if the author feels the need to alter the cited copy. If your reference is to “Hitler 1928,” and that happens to take me to Bernard Hitler, Now I Am a Fountain Pen: The Story of My Bar Mitzvah (Flatbush, NY: Gravesend Press, 1928), so be it. No explanation required. The sole requirement is that every citation must have an exact match-up in the list at the end of the book or chapter. 

You also can’t change the names of organizations to suit your purposes. The name in the references list is the name in your chapter in the citation  unless you tell your readers otherwise. Thats life.

2. Subheads. Love them, especially as a proofreader or indexer, and for different reasons. But the copy following the subhead needs to bear some semblance to the subhead itself. As an indexer, I’m often lured into thinking mistakenly that the author and editor may actually have known what they were doing when they assigned a title to a certain section of a chapter . . . only to bring up the matter four pages later into the discussion.

The issue of subheads brings up organization in general. I’ve mentioned  this gripe before, but it happens weekly. I don’t want to be 200 pages into a book and read repeatedly what points the book is going to make or is trying to make. To me, it puts the author in the way between me and the content. If I want a first-person account, I’ll read one.

[This morning I picked up a book that my wife had left in the kitchen. I held it up to the dog and said, “Zooey, people read these things for pleasure. Can you imagine?” My mind is turning to mush.]

So, as an indexer, I don’t want to see subheads that introduce four pages of transition material and never mention the actual topic — unless I figure out your game early on, which unfortunately I never do soon enough.


grins said...

That part of Sam's composition classes made him decide not to pursue a degree in English. It upset me because he is such a good writer, or not. Listening to you I can see how confused he could get. I'm not so angry with him now, thanks. It takes a lot to be a great writer.

Aunty Belle said...

@Grins: And editor.

Aunty Belle said...

ooops--Czar, my sincerest apologies--gracious, whar's mah manners???
I jes' now seen your MAY reply to a post on back porch wif' yore question 'bout Fr. Lopez of Atlanta's Pius X high school (An the oldest Atlanta catholic Church, Sacred Heart). Jes' now seein' that reply--fergive me--I hasn't been ignorin' what ya might think is a hard question.

First, may I ask what is the title of the book youse workin' on? I shure wanna read it when it be published. An' a quick aside--yes yes, Savannah be the oldest birthplace fer Georgia"s Catholics--did ya know that Flannery O'Connor wuz born in Savannah, her family hailed from that fair city.

As to the good Fr. Lopez an' his letter to the pres, an' yore question about how his letter squares wif' USCCB--heh heh...

akshully thar's two answers, but the short answer is Fr. Lopez squares NEAR TO PLUMB wif' the USCCB--of today. That leads to the long answer which be that in olden days of 5 years ago Fr. Lopez' answer might'a been at an uncomfortable right angle to the USCCB.

The story to THAT cahnge of tune is the long feature of the answer--Fr. L has been correct all along you see--the USCCB is jes' catchin' up to the truth of thangs. An heah's how that happened (Of I could write a BOOK on this topic, an relish that chore I would,an may do so in years to come but first mah professional association wif' USCCB must be completed--A few years to go, yet.)

Anyhoo, the long of it much condensed be this:

USCCB is a structure that answers modern needs to Church organization and governance. It has ZERO regulating powers--few unnerstan' that point. USCCB is an advisory association to Bishops in the USA.

It has no powers of enforcement, no authority over any bishop. Everywhere in the world a bishop is answerable to God first an' on this side of heaven, to the Pope.

Of course, the USCCB is a mighty force--it can an' does use social an' fraternal pressure to corral some bishops. The whole idea behind the USCCB is to give a corporate voice to US Catholics, to provide forums for US bishops to solve internal (American ) issues, to serve bishops with departments that assist all of the US dioceses--such as education/ pro-life/ marriage prep/ evangelization.

Catholic social teaching is very difficult to compact--I won't tilt at that windmill heah. (but, ask an' ya shall recive--wiwll fill yore inbox wif essays or book titles, if youse curious--as if ya had time fer such, heh) But suffice to say , thar' ain't no Bernadin-esque "seamless garment"
(that were always a bunch of hoo hah, but the media ran wif' it cause it suited their own agenda)

an' all social issues ain't equal--pro-life is top dawg, despite a bunch of bureaucratic "progressive" types who colonized the inner committees of the USCCB an' of course, promoted unCatholic views of certain moral issues. The bishops at home wuz busy fightin' local issues, let the drones run the show in DC too long until last year thar' was a realignment of the USCCB when the heir apparent to the presidency wuz bypassed an' nominations from the floor installed the current pres, Cardinal Dolan (NYC). Thangs is finally gettin' right side up at the USCCB. An' to the point ya made? Yes, NOW Lopez is on the precise line of the USCCB on the issues he addresses in that letter.

(sorry Czar, ya know the cliche--din't have enough time to write a shorter response).

czar said...

@Grins: You, Sam, anyone can be a fantastic writer without mastering issues of subheads and scholarly documentation. But, damn, if that's one's chosen field, get it right.

@AB: Eh. Not so much. About the same skills as it takes to be an accountant.

@ABII: "professional association wif' USCCB"? Well, I guess I asked the right source. Thanks for your perspective, Aunty. As I may have mentioned, one of my bigger clients is Orbis Books, and I'm sure you're aware of their publishing history.

On Catholic social teaching, thanks for the offer, but I probably read a dozen books a year on it as things go. And I suspect they are, as you say, at right angles with the Auntian take.

The book I was reading . . . umm . . . It's the history of Christ the King Cathedral in Atlanta. Probably not publicly marketed, but available from the cathedral or the publisher later this year. I can let you know when it's available. It's from the same publisher that is wise enough to employ Moi and me.

But since then, oh, the fun!

Option for the Poor and for the Earth: Catholic Social Teaching, 20th anniversary edition

A Maryknoll Liturgical Year: Reflections on the Readings for Year C

Vatican II: Fifty Personal Stories

Fifty-eight hundred years of Jewish ancestors are spinning quickly in their graves. Which just made me think, Mom Czar passed away 18 years ago today. Hmm. Well, she was pretty ecumenical.

Aunty Belle said...

Yep, bet ya' is sick of them so-called Catholic Social teachin' volumes--it'd gag me, I jes' have to say that right out. But it's a long yak, an' neither of us be up fer it, but mercy, I'd like a REAL catholic social teachin' volume to come yore way--might intrigue the Czar.

doan worry too much about spinnin' relatives. Us catholic folk is nearer to them ancestors than ya' might realize. Iffin' I weren't Catholic I'd come knock on yore synagogue door--it's the only other authentic faith.

czar said...

@AB: If you wanted to put a Catholic social teaching volume in my hands that is something different from what I receive from Orbis (and Paulist and Crossroad and . . .), I'd like to see it. Can't promise a cover-to-cover read. You know how that goes.

If you came and knocked on a synagogue door, good luck. Another Jewish guy -- he's the 70-something-year-old, long-disowned son of an Orthodox rabbi -- and I were discussing recently the difference, as a stranger, in walking into a synagogue and a church. If you're a newcomer in a church, everyone's all over you. In the different synagogues I've been in over the last dozen years (probably about a dozen), you'll die of loneliness before someone talks to you. I'm ashamed to say it, but it's true. And the experience was repeated for me over and over again, and for my acquaintance as well.

This even happened at the temple where I was bar mitzvahed. I returned there 30-something years after the fact. When I finally put myself in the face of one of the elders doing the gladhanding thing, mentioning that I grew up there, was bar-mitzvahed there back in the 1970s, etc., you'd have thought I'd donned a feces suit. They couldn't ignore me more or make it clearer they had no interest whatsoever.

Church? I'd have been invited to the fellowship hall, where I'd have been treated as the prodigal son.

Temple? Yeah, see ya' later.

czar said...

@AB, again.

In full disclosure, I'm not at all sick of the Catholic social teaching tomes -- as long as I don't read them back to back. For a single topic, they've made more than a few mortgage payments.

And, as you know, I kinda agree with that whole structural injustice take. I presume that's a term that resonates with Aunty about along the same wavelength as "carpetbagger."

Thanks for keeping me honest, Aunty.

Aunty Belle said...

Keepin' ya honest? heh, hardly. But fer the mirror, youse welcome--we all need that reality check.

I chuckled at yore synagogue / feces suit description. We ain't THAT standoffish, but it ain't the Protestant Fellowship Hall scene either. A few years ago a prominent, very public city citizen came callin' at the Church door announcin' he had decided to "join" the Catholics. Whar' did he sign up. The desk drone mumbled, "leave your name and phone on this sheet. Someone from RCIA will call you."

City Citizen, " Oh,that's OK, they needn't bother. I don't need to be persuaded. I've decided already. I've met Fr. Murphy at a few dinners and I'm sure he'll be happy to learn that my family and I are joining your church."

Desk drone:" Sir, you cannot join as a group. It's an individual proposition, unless your children are under 14. And someone from RCIA will need to call you to set up your catechetical sessions."

CC: "But, as I said, I have already decided."

DD: "Well, that's a good first step. However you cannot 'join' this Church by signing up. One doesn't join, one BECOMES Catholic."

City Citizen never got over it--he's perfectly happy at the church where the mayor and his wife invited him to join.

Aunty Belle said...

As fer that super sticky wicket, the intersection of "structural injustice" an' AB's theology, it's certain that there are structural injustices--Marxism is exhibit A, Socialism is exhibit B. Does that give rapacious capitalism a free pass? Absolutely not. I cannot in conscience tolerate much less promote the Ayn Rand brand of capitalism.

I take my cue from
Rerum Novarum (Leo XIII's direct response, in 1891, to the rise of Socialism/ Marxism):

"Therefore, venerable brethren, as on former occasions when it seemed opportune to refute false teaching, We have addressed you in the interests of the Church and of the common weal, and have issued letters bearing on political power, human liberty, the Christian constitution of the State, and like matters, so have We thought it expedient now to speak on the condition of the working classes.[1] It is a subject on which We have already touched more than once, incidentally. But in the present letter, the responsibility of the apostolic office urges Us to treat the question of set purpose and in detail, in order that no misapprehension may exist as to the principles which truth and justice dictate for its settlement. The discussion is not easy, nor is it void of danger. It is no easy matter to define the relative rights and mutual duties of the rich and of the poor, of capital and of labor. And the danger lies in this, that crafty agitators are intent on making use of these differences of opinion to pervert men's judgments and to stir up the people to revolt.

3. In any case we clearly see, and on this there is general agreement, that some opportune remedy must be found quickly for the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class: for the ancient workingmen's guilds were abolished in the last century, and no other protective organization took their place. Public institutions and the laws set aside the ancient religion. Hence, by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless, under a different guise, but with like injustice, still practiced by covetous and grasping men. To this must be added that the hiring of labor and the conduct of trade are concentrated in the hands of comparatively few; so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself.

4. To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man's envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community.

Aunty Belle said...

5. It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases. Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man's little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life."

( The entire encyclical is worth reading--a great window into what is actual Church teaching)

IN the event that it might be assumed that this teaching is superseded by newer thought, there is Centesimus Annus issued in 1991 by John Paul II in which these themes are again addressed from the gospel perspective. I suspect you are familiar with Centesimus Annus (CA) as most "peace and justice" types in the left wing of religion and politics quote parts of CA lovingly.

But that's the rub--they leave out more than they quote. They demand "preferential option for the poor" but ignore the over-arching principle of subsidiarity. Worse, they impute to key phrases their own internal definition. An example of that tactic is the hideous lying phrase
used at the UN, "Health and reproductive rights" to mean abortion services. ( To clarify, I am not tacking, here, the issue of abortion. I am merely illustrating the tactic that redefines a term, adding one's preferred *content* to the words that others understand as having a settled meaning. "marriage" and "gender" are two other such terms now hijacked by ideologists. If you want to provide abortion services, simply say so, don't cloak it in a phrase that heretofore meant prenatal care.

In just that manner the leftists within the Catholic arena hijack certain terms and phrases by adding content that the gullible swallow. The tactic is dishonest and --in my world--sinful. The gospels after all instruct us to say what we mean , mean what we say.

Aunty Belle said...

This is a complicated topic, but for the sake of shorthand, I'd point out that-- in AB's view-- while capitalism is vulnerable to greed and crushing excess, in those nations where the citizens believe and endeavor to practice the scriptural commands--as an imperative HIGHER than any State law-- it is possible to achieve a healthy and just society. Under a republic with capitalism correctly
valued, the government assists and aids the citizen to achieve his highest personal goals including freedom to live according to his conscience, and to protect the citizens from external enemies. In this model, the state serves the people.

Conversely, Czar, Marxism/ Socialism is inherently unjust. It cannot foster or support a just society. It reduces man to a ward and servant of the STATE.

The State views each servant as a machine to produce the necessary goods--a machine whose needs will be determined by the State. A State that uses force against any freedom a man attempts to invoke if he should run afoul of the State's goals. Thus the State DEMANDS the obedience usually understood as that given to God. Hence, Marxisim/ Socialism is always anti-God, anti -Man-made -in the -image-of-God, because Marxism wants man-made-in-the-image-of-the-State.

Sigh....too long. Sorry. I'll find the best SHORT book to send. Read or skim--whatever suits the moment.

czar said...

@Aunty: An author/motivational speaker/publisher I worked for is known for the statement, "The person you are five years from now depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read."

There's no telling who I'd be today if someone had reached me 10 years ago with this perspective.

Not saying I agree with it at all -- nor am I really in a position to, or not -- but the Stockholm Syndrome is real in the dungeon.

I am very happy for what is obviously a completely different take on everything I've been reading. Just knowing there's another side out there -- as there must be -- keeps my mind open.

To me, it's like traveling with young children. It doesn't matter that a three-year-old won't remember seeing a certain sight; more important is that the child understand that there's a whole different world away from home.

czar said...

@AB, again:

By the way, if an already circumcised City Citizen had shown up at the local synagogue wondering where he could join up, the steps leading to welcome would be a bit more painful and alarming than anything the RCIA would have in store for him.

The czarina's dentist, a nice Catholic boy in Atlanta, found out the hard way after marrying into the tribe and deciding to convert.