In Which I Am That Person

I very rarely point out other people’s written errors when I’m not paid to do so. I like to call it my work–life balance. (Yes, that should be an en dash. No, WordPress has never heard of an en dash. Yes, these things keep me up nights.)

Those of you who know the real-life persona behind Indy Clause might be surprised that I can keep my opinions to myself. All I can say is that it is a struggle. Your support is greatly appreciated.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on Obscure Historical Figure in order to finish The Fucker. My favorite librarian is tired of hearing from me as my book requests get more and more arcane. My overdue fines have become a dedicated income stream for my local library.

In preparation for yet another interlibrary loan request, I looked up a book description online. I just happened to notice that there were no apostrophes in the entire catalog copy description, despite four or five places where apostrophes were clearly needed. This was a university press website.

I thought about it for a few seconds. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Readers, I did. I emailed someone on the copyediting staff and said very politely that I had noticed these errors and thought they might wish to know about them.

Five minutes later I got a very polite email back saying that the backlist books had gone through various databases that had probably stripped the original copy of its apostrophes. She then (very politely) bewailed the fact that they did not have enough staff to correct all of the errors, but that she would correct the copy for that book.

I neither asked for a job nor encouraged her to exploit unpaid interns. I considered my duty discharged. I think I wasn’t an asshole. And I guess that’s good enough for today.

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16 responses to “In Which I Am That Person

  1. To get WordPress to do proper dashes, you have to use markup. Not sure how this will format—there’s no comment preview—so will describe it: type an ampersand followed by “ndash” or “mdash” (without the double quotes) followed by a semicolon. Hooray! You’re creating character entity references!

    “Let’s try it here!” — Abraham Lincoln.

    I have a habit of putting spaces around my dashes, which evidently is anathema to editors. So it goes.

    • didn’t work. Not so amazing afterall.

      Oh, I see. I have to have markup. So this is an endash for the powerful; those who control the blog also clearly control the means of production.

      • No, no, you have the magic. It’s just the syntax is very picky. Try – instead of &endash; and — instead of &emdash;

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