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RE: Changing the game

I took a peek at Sandy's text, but recoiled because I have more 
urgent 16-page texts to read. Nonetheless, I will make two simple 
little remarks regarding the text. The first point will take aim 
at the exalted vision of the editor as presented by Sandy. The 
second point tries to make a small comment on a text written by a 
self-respecting (and respected) editor.

1. The following quotation will be enough for this point: "Just 
as editors can help shape the cultural agenda by forging links 
among people and ideas, so too can they influence the direction 
of scholarship by stimulating the production of certain kinds of 
writing." The quotation at the end of the "linker" section says 
much the same thing in even more assertive manner. Now, let us 
ask a question: imagine Einstein and an editor on a raft, and one 
has to die to let the other survive. Whom shall we choose? I 
suspect this takes care of that claim, once and for all.

2. The editorial point has to do with the word "meiotic". Now, 
English is not my first language, so I was cautious when I came 
across the following passage: "Editors ... play a meiotic role in 
making connections among different strands of intellectual 
development." To me, meiosis means cellular division in biology. 
So I checked a couple dictionaries I have on hand (and, echoing 
another remark made to Joe Esposito earlier, I must confess I 
have not read my dictionaries entirely, or even all that 
significantly, but they are quite handy all the same). Sure 
enough, meiosis means division, so that connecting by dividing 
became a deep mystery for me. There is however a second meaning 
to meiosis that I did not know at all: understatement, lowering 
diminishing. But I was baffled as to why an editor should want to 
act meiotically with respect to an author. It did not make sense 
to me until I realized that Sandy's entire text was indeed a 
meiotic operation on the authors to provide, by comparison, an 
elevated, even exalted, vision of the editor.

I must confess that this discovery made me very happy indeed. My 
vocabulary has increased and I finally understood what Sandy was 
after. Thank you for being so transparent, Sandy, but, given the 
more usual sense of meiosis, beware, as a good editor, that your 
meaning might catch many by surprise. Some might even believe 
that you made an inappropriate use of the word "meiotic".

There would be so much more to say about Sandy's little piece, 
but I will conclude by saying that my vision of editorship for 
research results aiming at feeding further research is that its 
functions are quite limited indeed.

Now for novels, and essays, and the stuff sold in bookstores, but 
of course...

Jean-Claude Guedon

Le lundi 12 octobre 2009 a 18:04 -0400, Sandy Thatcher a ecrit :
> At the risk of repeating myself, I'd like to urge that the nine
> roles I identified acquiring editors as playing in the review
> process for scholarly monographs cannot readily be duplicated in
> a system run only by academics. For the enumeration and
> explanation of these roles, see my essay on "The "Value Added' in
> Editorial Acquisitions" here:
> http://www.psupress.org/news/SandyThatchersWritings.html