What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

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.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Has Journalism Grown Stupid(er), or Am I Increasingly Intolerant?

So I'm taking a break from proofreading, of all things, college football calendars (ah, college football -- speaking of stupidity and my intolerance), chomping on an ice cream bar and avoiding my perpetual work backup. (See also blogging.) I click on the AP news and see a story about which I had no prior knowledge nor any particular interest, but it looked odd enough to catch my attention.

Link: Facebook fraud suspect on the lam; family, dog also missing

Part of my attraction is that I've always liked the phrase "on the lam." One of my favorite movies is Petrified Forest (1930s; Bogart, Bette Davis, Leslie Howard), and one of Duke Mantee's gang tells him a few times, "C'mon, boss, let's lam on outta here." I saw the movie on TV one afternoon back in my 20s and fell in love with it. (I just looked it up on YouTube, and only one clip is available, but I did see that there was a live TV version done in the 1950s with Bogart and Henry Fonda. Don't know who plays the Bette Davis role, but the original movie is notable -- among many other reasons -- because Bette Davis plays an idealistic young goddess, not a hardened bitch.)

Oh, yeah, journalism.

If you've clicked on the link above, you perhaps noted something interesting. Here's a story about a guy who tried to pull a multibillion-dollar scam on Mark Zuckerberg, and intrepid AP journalist Larry Neumeister offers up this detail in paragraph 3:

"And the search widened Thursday: Ceglia's wife and two young sons and his family's Jack Russell terrier, Buddy, also have disappeared."

Great reporting there, sport. Too bad you didn't mention the names of the other missing humans until seven paragraphs deeper into the story.

I mean, what gives? Is the dog's name important whatsoever? And Buddy? What a pedestrian name for a dog. Now if the dog's name was Zarathustra or Moon Unit or J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, that's crucial information. But "Buddy"? 

Besides, as far as I'm concerned, you could vaporize every freaking Jack Russell terrorist on earth, and I wouldn't bat an eye. What a godawful breed of dog.

Ah, well. Time to see how Vanderbilt did against Ole Miss on October 8, 1949. I wish I was kidding. My whoredom knows no limits, although I did turn down an index the other day. Even with my tolerance (!) for obscure theological prose, this one would have pushed me right over the edge. It's nice to be in a position, ephemeral as it is, to turn away work once in a while that I really don't want to do.


moi said...

In my head, I see an old-timey newspaper editor, grubby shirtsleeves rolled up to longshoreman-sized biceps, moldy cigar hanging out of one side of his mouth, hair balding from the force of his intellect, throwing a paperweight at the writer who crafted that sentence. And killing him.

Also, I'll hitch myself to your rally against Jack Russells. The kind of dog that should only be owned by, oh, 1.5679 percent of of the population, not 45.

Also, Part II: no one has yet been able to satisfactorily explain "Ole"—to me, it will always be Oh-lay.

czar said...

Forget it, Moi. It's Mississippi.

moi said...

SB and I were in Oxford one year for an LSU/Ole Miss game and to pay our respects to Faulkner. I asked a good half dozen people about this. Blank stares from most, out and out hostility from a couple. "Cuz that's the way it IS!" (Also: the size of the tailgating fest pre-game is terrifyingly impressive—to the point where even libertarian ol' Moi was a wee bit nervous at the wanton revelry.)

czar said...

In September 2016, they're going to use the Bristol NASCAR track for a Virginia Tech/Tennessee football game. When that place fills up, it's the fourth- or fifth-largest city in Tennessee. They have a sign in downtown Bristol counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until kickoff. I add three and a half hours to it . . . when it'll all be over. Imagine a football stadium surrounded not only by a huge parking lot but by hundreds of acres of campgrounds. God help me.

czar said...

PS: 160,000 people.