Penny Thoughts: Editing and Censorship | – West Alabama Watchman

Anyone who has ever published or has sought to publish something has had the experience of being at the mercy of an editor. Essentially, it is the editors responsibility to make certain that there are given structural consistencies. The material must be grammatically correct, punctually right, and substantially consistent with the publishing organizations stated mission. This is the editors job!

With it all, it is a necessity that there be a collaborationbetween the author and the editor.Editors destroy the art of the author if they become blinded by thelenses of their individual political, moral, or emotional biases. If they are, then they become no differentthan some banana republic tyrant. Andbelieve me, some editors are plainly and simply tyrants!

In this instance, Thomas Carlyle observed, Great is journalism. Is not every able editor a ruler of the world,being the persuader of it? (1837).Indeed, a ruler of the world, and clearly such a ruler would beconcerned with the preservation of the status quo refracted through thefocus of her/his perceptive. That editorialprocess is blatant censorship!

Adding to this process, H.G. Wells stated, No passion in the world is equal to the passionto alter someone elses draft. Theoperative word is alter, and in this instance, it implies that an editorhas a predisposed position which the editor seeks to proffer, regardless of thequality of the authors work. Again,this is censorship.

As a case in point let us suppose an author holdsposition x and the editor holds position y.We can assume that x and y are diametrically opposed. Just how the editor exercises editorialprocesses will reveal the intent of the editor.The question remains: what is the editors position? Bend the authorsx to look more like the editors y?Or to present the authors x as it stands?

Essentially, what IS the editors responsibility? And that is just the question every editor must self-impose and exercise. When it comes to novels and even some poetry, it is fair that the editor suggests amendments which further refine what the author seems to intend more so with novels than with poetry. But when an editor wields a form of judgment framed by the personal views of the editor, then such a process falls monumentally short of true editorial commission.

In an allegorical observation, Elbert Hubbard in 1847 declared, Aneditoris someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff. In 1964, Adlai Stevenson re-quoted this same observation. It holds weighty implications when closely examined and harkens to Matthew 13:24-30, which deals with the wheat being separated from the chaff. In my perspective, this is the best analogy for an editor to face up to editorial responsibility.

Having published articles, poems, and a textbook, in every instance my work was at the mercy of an editors view. Some were good, some bad, but all of them held the sword which could have eviscerated my entire submitted piece. There are expectations an author has from the work of an editor. Even with all the structural functions an editor must exercise, in the final analysis, an editor must be objective! Of all the duties an editor must exhibit, objectivity must be at the forefront! If that is not the case, then editorship becomes censorship.

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Penny Thoughts: Editing and Censorship | - West Alabama Watchman

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