I will coach you in essential business skills such as decoupling all of your constituent atoms from reality and becoming the One

October 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

i-will-101013

For Stalin, editing was a passion that extended well beyond the realm of published texts. Traces of his blue pencil can be seen on memoranda and speeches of high-ranking party officials (“against whom is this thesis directed?”) and on comic caricatures sketched by members of his inner circle during their endless nocturnal meetings (“Correct!” or “Show all members of the Politburo”). During the German siege of Stalingrad (1942-43), he encircled the city from the west with his blue pencil on a large wall map in the Kremlin, and, in the summer of 1944, he redrew the borders of Poland in blue. At a meeting with Winston Churchill a few months later, the British prime minister watched as Stalin “took his blue pencil and made a large tick” indicating his approval of the “percentages agreement” for the division of Europe into Western and Soviet spheres of influence after the war.

The few who visited the Soviet leader in his Kremlin study mention the blue pencil in their memoirs. Georgy Zhukov, commander of the Soviet military during World War II, observed that “Stalin usually made notes in blue pencil and he wrote very fast, in a bold hand, and legibly.” The Yugoslav Communist Milovan Ðilas was surprised to find that Stalin was not the calm, self-assured man he knew from photographs and newsreels:

He was not quiet a moment. He toyed with his pipe … or drew circles with a blue pencil around words indicating the main subjects for discussion, which he then crossed out with slanting lines as each part of the discussion was nearing an end, and he kept turning his head this way and that while he fidgeted in his seat.

The Stanford historian Norman Naimark describes the marks left by Stalin’s pencil as “greasy” and “thick and pasty.” He notes that Stalin edited “virtually every internal document of importance,” and the scope of what he considered internal and important was very broad. Editing a biologist’s speech for an international conference in 1948, Stalin used an array of colored pencils—red, green, blue—to strip the talk of references to “Soviet” science and “bourgeois” philosophy. He also crossed out an entire page on how science is “class-oriented by its very nature” and wrote in the margin “Ha-ha-ha!!! And what about mathematics? And what about Darwinism?”

Even when not wielding his blue pencil, Stalin’s editorial zeal was all-consuming. He excised people—indeed whole peoples—out of the manuscript of worldly existence, had them vanished from photographs and lexicons, changed their words and the meanings of their words, edited conversations as they happened, backing his interlocutors into more desirable (to him) formulations. “The Poles have been visiting here,” he told the former Comintern chief Georgi Dimitrov in 1948. “I ask them: What do you think of Dimitrov’s statement? They say: A good thing. And I tell them that it isn’t a good thing. Then they reply that they, too, think it isn’t a good thing.”  read more

GRAB: Traci Lee

What is’t distracts you? This is flesh and blood, sir

February 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Look, I’m not saying that women never cheat because they feel insecure – I am 100% sure that they do. I’m not saying that some people don’t have genuine troubles that mean they could do with the help of a relationship counsellor or sex therapist. As mentioned above, there are myriad reasons why women might stray from a relationship, and I expect Robert Weiss has correctly pinpointed some of them. But are these really the most common? Is it really more likely that you have an intimacy disorder than that you like having sex?

And more importantly, where is the research that actually backs up these ’5 reasons for female infidelity’? Because as far as I can see, none of the links in the article go anywhere more substantial than a blog that’s over a year old which includes a slightly longer but no less speculative list, and a journalistic puff piece advertising a website for married people to have affairs…

Is there a similar article in which Weiss dissects the 5 reasons for male infidelity? If it’s based on the same level of research, and skewed just as heavily to reflect society’s bias about gender and sexual drive, I suspect men would be asked to choose between statements such as  ‘my wife didn’t suck me off enough’, ‘I was horny’ and ‘she had really lovely tits. Wahey.’…

Weiss’s speculation, which presents women as feeble creatures incapable of having sexual desires that aren’t motivated by a deeper emotional need, is being presented as ‘fact’, when he’s presented no evidence to back that up.

This is exactly the sort of thing we have editors for: to identify facts, and sort them from self-interested waffle. Self-interested waffle: I’ve cheated on partners before but I don’t want you to think I’m an awful person. Facts: women get horny, grass is green, and the Huffington Post can utterly fuck off.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Lina Scheynius

 

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