Festivus felicitations to you all
Yesterday, winter arrived in Baltimore, with the sun shining and temperatures in the middle sixties. I really should have gone outside to rake up the remaining oak leaves from our neighbor’s trees and do something about all those damned Higgs bosons, but I had holiday preparations to do.
And today dawns Festivus.
The aluminum pole is up in the living room.
I am putting off the Feats of Strength, because later I will go to the paragraph factory to sit as the supervising editor on the news desk and shepherd through (and do a goodly amount of primary copy editing on) the Sunday Bulldog cover, the Arts & Entertainment section, the Saturday A section, the Sunday Business & Jobs section, and whatever loose pieces for the Sunday A section are lying about.
For the Rehearsal of Grievances, I point you to the 376 previous posts for this calendar year.
Add one daily grievance: The New York Times—how are the mighty fallen—has published PNC Bank’s accounting of the costs this year of the gifts enumerated in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I cannot begin to imagine what Elizabeth Olson must have done, or whom she must have cheesed off, to have been given this assignment. It is a fatuous non-story and a publicity stunt for a bank, and for any publication to run it is a signal failure of imagination.
And add one overall grievance for the year: It has been another year of the diminution of copy desks. The attrition of the War on Editing has left some publications without any copy desk at all, the editing being done at distant “hubs” by editors with little or no knowledge of the locality being written about.
Square this with the proclamations about the primacy of local, news, the distinctive franchise of newspapers, the commitment to extensive local coverage, and all the other little songs that the industry has been humming nasally for the past decade.
Besides, once you have eliminated the copy desk, where are you going to transfer employees who have fallen out of favor?
A blessed Festivus to you all.