Testy Copy Editors

Our new website is up and running at testycopyeditors.org. This board will be maintained as an archive. Please visit the new site and register. Direct questions to the proprietor, blanp@testycopyeditors.org
It is currently Mon Jul 22, 2024 5:50 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 21 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 10:51 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 3557
Location: Cusp of retirement, grave or both
This memo was sent around by one of our "senior" editors; he found it on the Web.<p>I think it is the most interesting memo I've ever received from a "senior" editor, so I'm going to "share" it here. <p>I have children who are in their 20s. This was, for me, a good reminder of what is outside their frame of reference. <p>------<p>Each year, Beloit (Wis.) College produces a reminder of how time flies.
It
look at a class of students and puts their life experience in
perspective
compared to our time memories. Here's the latest one. It may be
interesting
to reconsider some of your pop-culture references from time to time.<p>THE CLASS OF 2005<p>
The people who started college last fall across the nation
generally
were born in 1983.
They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan Era and
probably did
not know he had ever been shot.
They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.
There has been only one Pope in their lifetime.
They were 10 years old when the Soviet Union broke apart and do
not
remember the Cold War.
They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
Tianamen Square means nothing to them.
Bottle caps have always been screw-off and plastic.
Atari predates them, as do vinyl albums.
The statement "You sound like a broken record" has no meaningful
reference point to them.
They have never owned a record player.
They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of
Pong.
They may have never heard of an 8-track. The compact disc was
introduced when they were 1 year old.
They have always had an answering machine.
Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they
seen
a black and white TV.
They have always had cable.
There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what BETA was.
They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
They don't know what a cloth baby diaper is.
They don't know about the "Help me, I've fallen and I can't get
up"
commercial.
They were born the year that Walkmen were introduced by Sony.
Roller skating has always meant inline for them.
Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.
Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
They have never seen Larry Bird play.
They never took a swim and thought about "Jaws."
The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WWI, WWII, Korea
and
the Civil War.
They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.
They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.
They never said "Where's the beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a
Camel," or
"De plane, de plane!"
They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. was.
There has always been MTV.
They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:12 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 887
Location: U.S.A.
Interesting and enjoyable read. But isn't this "memo" a year old? Your typical college freshman last fall was born in 1984, not '83, and is a member of the Class of 2006, not '05.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 2:55 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 3557
Location: Cusp of retirement, grave or both
Yeah, it is a year old, but new to us. I was foolish to think no one would notice the discrepancy. On this board, most people probably will....


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 4:18 pm 
The fallacy with the implied rebuke in this essay is that we who have lived and experienced these things are somehow superior for having done so. Empty culture viewed through a fog of nostalgia is just as empty.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 4:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 3557
Location: Cusp of retirement, grave or both
I don't think that's the point at all, nor do I see an implied rebuke.<p>It's just a gentle reminder to people who lived through all those things that not everyone did, and thus we should be careful when making assumptions about what is within others' experience. This is valuable for copy editors to keep in mind. It's far from rare that I get something in the slot from a rim editor who has no idea that it means nothing to people outside their generation, be it younger or older. (Unfortunately, these cultural "nuggets" usually come in the form of a howlingly bad pun hed that would make a smidgen of sense only to readers the same age as the editor in question.<p>My favorite is that "You sound like a broken record" would mean nothing to many young people. I'd never considered that.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 6:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 1399
Location: In the newsroom
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Bumfketeer:
I don't think that's the point at all, nor do I see an implied rebuke.<p>It's just a gentle reminder to people who lived through all those things that not everyone did, and thus we should be careful when making assumptions about what is within others' experience. This is valuable for copy editors to keep in mind. It's far from rare that I get something in the slot from a rim editor who has no idea that it means nothing to people outside their generation, be it younger or older. (Unfortunately, these cultural "nuggets" usually come in the form of a howlingly bad pun hed that would make a smidgen of sense only to readers the same age as the editor in question.<p>My favorite is that "You sound like a broken record" would mean nothing to many young people. I'd never considered that.<hr></blockquote><p>Agreed, and it isn't only things tied to pop culture. We often field inquiries from various folks (in-house, that is) who don't get certain references. I won't say who this was or what her position is, but recently one 30-ish woman asked who William Calley was, and she also didn't get a play on The Graduate's "plastics" line. The queries really startled those of us on the desk, all but one of whom are over 40 (and most of whom are past 50)--but we took them as a sign that it's time to rethink a lot of what we take for granted.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 6:45 pm 
My real point is that such lack of worldview works the other way as well. Our fiftyish copy desk chief made a major goof the other day when he changed the named of Grammy-nominated singer Avril Lavigne to "April," believing that AP had made a typo. When challenged on that, he said, "Well, who the hell is Avril Lavigne?" (He couldn't pronounce the name to save his life, either.) When informed of her fairly elevated profile in the current pop-culture community, he growled, "Well, how the hell am I supposed to keep track of every damn singer out there?" Yet, he can wax rhapsodic in detail about having attended concerts by Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moby Grape, The Electric Prunes, etc., in his Sixties youth -- he's a virtual encyclopedia of the things that interest him.<p>My point is that it's your job as a copy editor to be interested -- to the point, at least, where you're readily conversant -- with "every damn singer out there," among other contemporary cultural phenomena. To him, these things are less relevant because they're not as personally interesting to him as It's A Beautiful Day or the Great Society. That's okay as a personal prejudice ... but it's the exact opposite of okay as a professional one.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 7:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 1399
Location: In the newsroom
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Jim Thomsen:
My real point is that such lack of worldview works the other way as well. Our fiftyish copy desk chief made a major goof the other day when he changed the named of Grammy-nominated singer Avril Lavigne to "April," believing that AP had made a typo. When challenged on that, he said, "Well, who the hell is Avril Lavigne?" (He couldn't pronounce the name to save his life, either.) When informed of her fairly elevated profile in the current pop-culture community, he growled, "Well, how the hell am I supposed to keep track of every damn singer out there?" Yet, he can wax rhapsodic in detail about having attended concerts by Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moby Grape, The Electric Prunes, etc., in his Sixties youth -- he's a virtual encyclopedia of the things that interest him.<p>My point is that it's your job as a copy editor to be interested -- to the point, at least, where you're readily conversant -- with "every damn singer out there," among other contemporary cultural phenomena. To him, these things are less relevant because they're not as personally interesting to him as It's A Beautiful Day or the Great Society. That's okay as a personal prejudice ... but it's the exact opposite of okay as a professional one.<hr></blockquote>And you're right about that, too. I am really bothered by eds who make a point of ignoring a lot of the world and then ask questions that just show their ignorance. <p>Of course, I say this as the Snews news desk resident pop-culture and computer technology queen. :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 7:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 8342
Location: Bethesda, Md.
I often ask questions such as, "Who is Simon Cowell" or "Was Bernie Ebbers 'famous' for not using e-mail?" just to make sure that my own biases or gaps do not make me blind to the obvious.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 7:24 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 3557
Location: Cusp of retirement, grave or both
Jim:<p>I refer you to Blanp's post on another thread about bad copy desk chiefs.<p>I've never heard of Avril, but changing the name without looking it up was, well, stupid.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 7:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 3557
Location: Cusp of retirement, grave or both
Phil:<p>I frequently do the same thing, and when in doubt will seek out the youngest or oldest (depending on the situation) person in sight to confirm whether so-and-so fact is common knowledge spanning generations or limited to a more specific age bracket. If that makes sense.<p>I have yet to be sued for age discrimination for doing this.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 10:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3135
Location: Albuquerque, N.M. USA
It's funny when geezers suggest that kids don't know what "records" or "LPs" are. It also came up a year or two ago when CNN ran a racy promo for one of its new anchors (Paula Zahn?) which had the sound effect of a needle being dragged across a record and which some mistook for the sound of a zipper (and thus sexist). <p>Many decried the record-needle sound effect as obsolete. But doesn't everyone know that kids still buy vinyl records and play them on turntables? It's what DJs in clubs do. <p>And who is Simon Cowbell anyway?


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 11:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2003 1:01 am
Posts: 78
Location: South Carolina
Yes, vinyl records are still in use by the kiddies today. But aside from that, one who grows up with a parent who says to his or her child "you sound like a broken record" knows what it means, just as someone who has never witnessed a fisticuffs-style boxing match knows what "toe the line" means.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 11:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 1775
Location: Baltimore
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by jjmoney62:

And who is Simon Cowbell anyway?
<hr></blockquote><p>he's a testy TV "personality"


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 12:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 1399
Location: In the newsroom
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Wayne Countryman:
<p>he's a testy TV "personality"<hr></blockquote>
More specifically, one of the "judges" on American Idol. Acerbic on a good day, and fairly obnoxious on others!<p>Disclaimer: I don't watch it, but heaven knows I've seen enough of the commercials during the football games.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 1:16 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 887
Location: U.S.A.
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Jim Thomsen:
My point is that it's your job as a copy editor to be interested -- to the point, at least, where you're readily conversant -- with "every damn singer out there," among other contemporary cultural phenomena.<hr></blockquote><p>***No, it's not.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 3:23 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 840
Location: Ashland, Ore.
I recall opening a 2000 column to freshmen with "you had the misfortune of being born under Reagan," but aside from that, as entertaining as this memo may be, much of it isn't true.<p>Consider that most of these born-in-'83ers either had older siblings or friends who did. Through the idolization children unwaveringly portray for those older than them, it can safely be assumed that many of these people know of both Pac-Man and Pong.<p>For another perspective, the sticker at the cash register of most any establishment that sells cigarettes reads "in order to purchase tobacco products, you must have been born on or before today's date in 1985."<p>Yes, every year, we get a bit older. I'll admit that seeing 1984 in said stickers last year finally made me feel like I was no longer a kid. Having memories from a year that defines legality threw me for a loop, but so it goes.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 9:39 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 3557
Location: Cusp of retirement, grave or both
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Gary Kirchherr:
<p>***No, it's not.<hr></blockquote><p>
***Gary's right.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 9:53 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 3557
Location: Cusp of retirement, grave or both
Well, I didn't intend this to become an intergenerational dust-up.<p>Of course the thing is overly general. But it's a good reminder for people over 40 (and I am well over 40) that we should be conscious that some of the touchstones of our lives are not quite as relevant to much younger people. And that goes for the younger people here, too.<p>And of course many younger people know what "sound like a broken record" means. Maybe even 80 percent, let's say. But 100 percent of readers over 40 know what it means. Thus, using a phrase like that (which we should not be, of course, because it's a cliche) loses 20 percent of young people who read it. That's the point of the essay. I'm surprised some people seem to think the point was to paint younger people as ignorant.<p>Twenty-five years from now, long after I am Depends-dependent in an abusive rest home, someone will write the same essay with relevance to people born in 2008, or whatever. Maybe it'll make more sense then to those questioning it.<p>[ January 24, 2003: Message edited by: Bumfketeer ]</p>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2003 4:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 257
Location: back in D.M., funny enough
To sum up, headlines that reference "Sex, Lies and Videotape" were a bad idea in 1989 and are an even worse one today.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Only slightly off-topic
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2003 4:43 pm 
As are ones that pun on "Sleepless in Seattle," a mediocre 1992 movie. We get those constantly in Pacific Northwest papers.


Top
  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 21 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

What They're Saying




Useful Links