Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Close To The Edit

My milkshake, it’s better than yours.

Editors, sub-editors, copy editors…whatever you call them, they have an important role in the life of words. They make sure they look real purty, massaging them with TLC after leaving the murky screen of the writer, before lovingly putting them to bed on the pristine page of the reader, getting mangled facts and phrases into tip-top shape before they reach the wider world.

Or, at least, that’s what they are supposed to do. The reality, of course, is very different from the theory. Every Single Day I read something with a factual inaccuracy in it.

The worst offenders (in my opinion) are news outlets covering anything to do with the world of comics. Why are comics still regarded as the poor sickly bastard offspring of literature? I don’t know. That’s a whole ‘nother argument I’m not going to try and wrestle with now. All I’ll say is this: I can reel off a list of comics that are at least the equal of any list of books you can stump up. So there.

Anyway, to illustrate my point, here’s Exhibit One, from a Reuters article on the planned Watchmen movie:

“Pinewood Shepperton declined to comment on the status of "Watchmen", based on a cult classic comic book by Alan Moore, who also created "Hellboy" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen".”

Now, I’m sure Alan Moore would be stunned to discover he created Hellboy. Must have been during some strange mystical fever-dream. The actual creator of Hellboy, Mike Mignola, would also, doubtless, be less than thrilled with this heinous misattribution of his creation. A mistake that manages to offend not one, but two writers. Reuters, consider yourselves named and shamed.

Next up, from a Guardian article on this summer’s forthcoming blockbusters, in a piece about The Fantastic Four:

“Hornblower actor Ioan Gruffud stars as head honcho Rex Reed (aka Mr Fantastic).”

Rex Reed? That’s odd. I could have sworn that Rex Reed was a New York-based film critic. Since 1961, when the Fantastic Four first appeared, Mr. Fantastic has always, always, always been Reed Richards.

None of this stuff is difficult to check. All you need is Google and a spare minute. There is really no excuse for it. After all, if you are paid to check the veracity of the information you are throwing out into the world, shouldn’t you actually do it?

But I’ve saved the best until last: The BBC just requested an interview with Bob Marley. They didn’t consider the fact that he’d been dead for 24 years as something that might impede the interview process. (And, no, it's not a belated April Fool.)

Useless bastards. The lot of ‘em.


aka_Meritt said...

OMG. I read up on the BBC interviewing Bob Marley comment... I could only laugh and shake my head.

Bert said...

You've got Meritt reading your site - she's mine, I tell you...