Infra dig and sub Charlie B

CRB alerted me to a comment that might have been made by Charlie Brooker on his own column this morning. I should stick it here in case, as CRB phrases it, “the Guardian’s comment police get to it,” although that seems unlikely now that everyone and his dog have responded to it.

It’s normally considered infra dig to reply directly to your own content except in situations of dire emergency, but Brooker has had cause to do this a couple of times now. Following the actions of the Guardian’s sub-editors then what’s been published is, in his opinion, no longer entirely his own:

Hello. Charlie Brooker here.

I wrote this piffle. Then it was subbed. And whoever subbed it decided to add a bit describing Doom as “the first shoot-em-up game”.

Words fail me.

They also changed every abbreviation -– so “they’re” becomes “they are” and “it’s” becomes “it is”, and so on — presumably in an attempt to inject a bit more plodding, impersonal joylessness to the whole thing.

Bet they did it on a Mac, too.

What?! A sub-editor, expanding contractions to remove the apostrophes and strip the content of any idiom, yet not thinking to check with the original author? That’s totally unheard of! It’s almost as though the Guardian is some third-rate Berliner that wants to pass itself off as a classy broadsheet. As we were all taught at finishing school (without the burden of the reason why, of course) apostrophes aren’t classy. Are not, I mean.

This entry was posted in columnists, commenting, editing, media, opinion, rants, subediting. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Infra dig and sub Charlie B

  1. K says:

    This news gladdened my heart. Not the bit about subs being idiots – we all knew that – but the fact that someone has publicly pointed out the damage they routinely do to other people’s work.

    The problem is common enough for it to have a name – say “wrecking subs” to any newspaper writer and they’ll know exactly what you mean. But most staff journalists are too busy worrying about low wages, job insecurity, shouting editors and freezing offices to fight that battle along with all the others. So thank you, Charlie, for standing up for the rest of us.

    NB: “standing up for” – a colloquialism? Should I delete that bit?

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