They killed her! Those bastages!

Whom is it they have killed?

None other than the ‘All-American Girl’, that’s who.See for yourselves… looks dead to me.

That link does not work. Try this one instead.

That site scares me.

You scared me, I thought Margaret Cho had been murdered.

a) “All American Girl” is a cliche. On the one hand, altering was dumb. On the other hand, a good writer ought to have been able to describe her without resorting to cliches.

b) He’s a whiny crybaby. Censorship by anyone who isn’t the government is their business and bitching about it gets zero sympathy from me. You don’t have a right to use other people’s resources however you want.


The Joan Birch Society


While the author is brushing up on the difference between “girl” and “woman,” he might also want to work on the difference between “genetic” and “generic”:

Of course, a good editor would have caught that.

Well sure it’s a cliche, but IMHO, it’s his writing, and i don’t think it should be changed just because it isn’t PC. All American Girl does sound much better than All American Woman. Change it based on its cliched-ness, sure, but not because it might offend someone.

Oooooooo, he has a PhD. Oooooooooo.

Oh, I totally agree “All American Woman” sounds idiotic; it’s a stock phrase and the editor should have either left it or cut it altogether. I’m just impressed at this guy’s ability to throw a hissy fit because a) editors edit his writing and b) he considers them not letting him do whatever he wants with their stuff an infringement on his precious rights.

It’s their printing press and their money. If they want changes or they won’t print it, that’s their perogative, because they own the means and he doesn’t. Him sulking about it is funny to me, especially since he’s got a PhD and is supposed to be some kind of professional writer.


Ooooo, you have a brain cell. Oooooo.

[sub]Any implication that Cervaise actually has the aforementioned cell is strictly hypothetical and is probably gravely mistaken.[/sub]

Yue Han said:

On the other hand, he wrote the piece and they didn’t. He at least should be allowed whether to accept the edited version (and the money) or reject both. That’s the idea of intellectual property right–that an author’s thoughts are as much a “resource” as printing presses and paper.

You yourself have said that the phrase “All-American Woman” sounds “idiotic.” Putting aside any political-correctness issues, I would be unhappy too if an editor changed something I wrote and thereby made me look bad–it would still be my name on the byline.

Mind you, I still think the guy’s a whiny jerk.

I didn’t see where they published against his will, but I only gave it a once over. Got a quote?


No, but the author doesn’t make clear what happened to his article…all he says is that he tried to make a compromise on the editorial changes and was rebuffed.

Hmmm, fair point. If he was allowed to retract the article and cancel any contract he’d made, then I’d say he has no right to complain. But if the editor had said at that point, “Well, tough, you already have a contract with us, and we’re printing the article with our changes”–that’s a point of debate. Clearly we need a little more info from our aggrieved author.

Like he hasn’t got his own equally virulent current political ideology working overtime. Men’s News Daily? I’m picturing a big ol’ bloody steak with lots and lots of whine.


True. It’s not as though they’re butchering Shakespeare, but maybe he feels as though his writing is like his child, borne from the fruits of his loins. Now that’s hackneyed! :slight_smile:

Yes, definitely major hissy fit.

What about the bit referring to the he/she debate for the textbook? I thought it was a little silly to get worked up over one letter of difference, especially since, IMHO, using “she” does sound a little more… open-minded, maybe? For instance, if one is talking about airline pilots, using “she” or “her” makes it sound like the editors don’t automatically assume that any random airline pilot will be male.

The author was obviously compensating for his ordinary shoes.
You see, she has diamonds in the soles of her shoes.

Contemplation will never do anything more than support thought and should in no way be misconstrued to replace it.

Those who neither think nor contemplate are simple puppets depending upon others to pull their strings.

I think the writer starts out with a valid point but then takes an exit into irrational-ville. There’s a difference between communicating meaning in a work of fiction and being gender-neutral in a textbook.

In a work of fiction, it seems to me there should be more leeway with language that’s being used to commmunicate an image, an ideology, a point of view, whatever. The words are chosed to convey a particular meaning. Thus “All American Girl” could be merely (and accurately) descriptive - a shorthand to conjuring up an archetype most readers will immediately understand.

Textbooks, however, are IMO another story (so to speak). Here I think there is a strong argument for being “gender neutral” and for editors to have the right to impose this on the books they publish (provided the writer has the option of rejecting the requirement and taking his/her work elsewhere). Gender-specificity (or whatever the term for the opposite of “gender-neutral” is) can communicate a message that is perhaps unintended (and perhaps not). Thus using he/him/his can be read and/or meant as exclusionary and possibly detrimental.

So the writer’s insistance on “All American Girl” seems justified/appropriate to me, but his resistance or “he or she”, etc. does not.

As a personal example, when I was getting my degree in electrical engineering in the '80s, I was one of very few women in the program and all the textbooks were written he/him/his. It was another contributing factor to the “you don’t really belong here” feeling. (I know, boo-hoo. But it’s not something my male classmates ever had to deal with.) Then in the '90s when I went back to get my masters in another technical (and again, predominantly male) program, I noticed that the textbooks were all gender neutral. It pleased me to see this, not because of some PC agenda, but because it gave me a bit of faith that hey, a society as a whole really can change for the better and wake up to the facts that 1) women (or girls) belong here, too, and 2) as the article states, word choice and its meaning are important.

My sister who is now in college doesn’t even know this was ever an issue. I am both happy with and somewhat envious of this fact.