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Re: Changing the game

It is curious how these fables get around and change when they 
do.  JCG tells a version with Einstein and an unnamed editor. 
There is another version with Enrico Fermi and Jean-Claude 

Joe Esposito

On Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 2:44 PM, Alex Holzman 
<aholzman@temple.edu> wrote:

> If Mickey Mantle and an umpire were on a raft and one had to 
> die, I'm pretty sure 99% of baseball fans would save Mantle. 
> And yet without the umpire there's no game; sometimes you don't 
> realize the value of people until they aren't there.  Editors, 
> like umpires, are most unnoticed when they do their job well. 
> Which, I suppose, is why some folks have no appreciation for 
> what good editing adds to scholarship.
> Let me attempt a very brief explanation.  You might be the 
> world's most ingenious scientist, designing incredibly 
> imaginative and productive experiments.  You also might not be 
> able to write your way out of a paper bag.  The two talents 
> don't necessarily go hand in hand (not many editors are 
> brilliant researchers either).  But if you can't communicate 
> your ideas, how much impact can they have?  Think of it this 
> way.  I can observe from an infant's behavior what she wants or 
> what's wrong, but it's a heck of a lot easier a couple of years 
> later when she can use words effectively to tell me.  And my 
> subsequent actions can be a lot more precise.
> It would be nice if we could not denigrate people's livelihoods 
> and contributions while discussing the interesting issues on 
> this listserv.  Fact is, we all need each other.
> Alex Holzman
> Director
> Temple University Press
> Philadelphia, PA 19122
> Phone: 215-204-3436
> Email: aholzman@temple.edu
> On Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 10:03 PM, Jean-Claude Guedon
> <jean.claude.guedon@umontreal.ca> wrote:
>> 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