Autonomous Source

March 15, 2004

The editor is dead

I was forced to kill the editor the other day. For those of you who knew him, I can assure you he felt no pain. The cause of death was a blow from a blunt instrument to the back of the head (a candlestick ... or was it the lead pipe?). He never saw it coming and was dead before he hit the floor.

One of the great things about the blog world is that for the most part, there are no editors. Writers don't have to follow a style sheet, write as if your readers mainly consist of nervous and prickly 40-somethings, or call terrorists 'militants'. They call the shots and can do whatever they want.

Except that they can't. Most bloggers are concerned about how many hits they get. They (okay, I) want readers. To get readers I feel I must write about topics that interest people and bring them back for more. I don't remember putting out a want-ad for an editor, but one day I noticed I had one -- and he was dictating content to better suit an imagined audience. His influence was minor at the beginning, but over time he started killing posts before they were finished, and making all kinds of unrequested suggestions. Just before his death, he was squeezing the life out of this blog. Posts that made it to the web had been drained of any interesting point of view and had acquired a slight 'dittoish' stench. He had to die. I have no regrets.

The problem with these types of editors -- born in some dark, insecure part of the super-ego -- is that they don't stay dead. Days, weeks, maybe months from now, his arms will force their way out of the dirt and pull his body out of the ground. Then he'll find his way back to his old station, hunched over me as I write, breathing down my neck, and wearing that same disapproving frown. And this time he'll smell bad. I'll just have to be vigilant.

Posted by Bruce Gottfred at March 15, 2004 10:10 AM | TrackBack
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