View Full Version : Is this Editor right?
03-15-2002, 09:10 AM
I mean a human one, not software.
I'm writing an article for a local (town) newsletter and it has the following paragraph:
"Well, it looks like [XYZ] Online is coming to [Town X]. As I write, the busy little beavers from [the electric & gas co.], [the phone co.], [the cable co.] and The Borough Water Department are in a race to paint as many lines on the grass and roadway as they can. Itís starting to look like the Puerto Rico Day parade out there."
The Editor said, in an offhand comment in the initial read, "Well, the line about Puerto Ric has to go." She seems to think it has racial overtones and could be regrded as offensive.
I, OTOH, am only trying to metaphorically present the rash of colors on display. I tried the "May Day parade" on her, which she is comfortable with, but somehow it doesn't have quite the visual affect I want. (If you've ever seen the NYC Puerto Rico Day goings on, you know what I mean. We're talking COLOR here.)
Have we sunk that far where even the mention of an enthnic group is offensive?
What do you guys think? Is the reference OK?
03-15-2002, 09:25 AM
It's likely that if you used the Saint Patrick's Day parade as an example it would have been fine. But, I could just imagine someone being outraged at Puerto Rico Day parade or perhaps if you used the Gay Lesbian Pride parade. Most editors tend to avoid letting something controversial or inflammatory go to press unless it was intended. yes, it seems a little PCish.
Not saying that you are intending to be inflammatory or anything like that. And since you are not deliberately making a statement or taking a stand, then the one wearing the editor hat would probably ask you to change it. I wouldn't put in something that could be misconstrued if another example worked unless that was my point.
another way of putting this, is that an article like this should never ever in a million years cause controversy. It's not in the nature of this kind of reporting to be controversial. As an editor/publisher, you want to know exactly what article might raise a controversy, and then make a decision about publishing it. You do not want to come into work and see protestors about some innoccuous page 4 filler.
03-15-2002, 10:44 AM
The real problem is that i is not at all clear what you are trying to say by "Puerto Rico day parade." For example, to me, it scans that you're trying to say the effect is chaotic. If you clarified it to say "as colorful as the..." it would certainly be clearer. But, aren't there a lot of colorful things in the universe? It seems like a non sequitaur to bring an ethic celebration into it. If you prefer not to delve into simile, it would make more sense to choose some other thing that is clearly understood to be colorful. flowers in bloom, hummingbirds, tropical fish, rainbows, etc.
03-15-2002, 10:48 AM
Given what happened at the parade a couple years ago (2000?), I think everyone's still a little touchy about it. I'd side with the editor. Maybe you should evoke a kaleidescope?
03-15-2002, 01:45 PM
I like the double reference that "Puerto Rico Day" parade evokes: a) a riot of color; and b) the parade of utility companies out there spreading it.
I don't agree that "It seems like a non sequitaur to bring an ethic celebration into it." - (Hello Again) I used the phrase because it brings to me a vivid mental image of both an expanse of color and a parade of people. I don't get the same mental imagery regarding color when I use "St. Patrick's Day parade". (Both parades have an ethnic reference, and in both, the reference to ethnicity is incidental.) In kind, I don't get the parade imagery from kaleidescope, flowers, birds or fish.
This may be the heart of the issue. As Hello Agian implies, maybe the use of the phrase as is, clouds the meaning because it doesn't readily convey the connection to color, and so shifts the focus of the sentence to the "ethnic reference".
"...Macy's parade" might work.
I guess you're right tho'. It just isn't worth all the doodah to keep the reference in. Something else will work, I'm sure.
BTW I do realize that this isn't War and Peace in the making, but principles is principles
03-15-2002, 02:40 PM
Thanks for taking my point despite my many, many typos. *sigh*
03-15-2002, 02:54 PM
I agree that the Puerto Rican reference isn't offensive, but it is unclear. How 'bout making it a topical reference and saying "as colorful as the athletes' parade at the beginning of the Olympics"?
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