Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Editor: A Pay Grade, Not a Job Description

The general manager of the DeSoto Sun writes a column this morning praising a large, metal-sided, tin-roofed building. It's essentially an indoor arena for horse shows, concerts and the occasional boxing match promoted by the general manager himself. He writes: “Over the years, this first-class facility has seen a grand assortment of venues held inside its walls.”

Venue does not mean event. It means locale, place, site. The civic center is the venue; its walls cannot hold an assortment of venues, grand or otherwise. The misuse is sort of like saying the Atlantic “sees a grand assortment of oceans inside its shores.”

The writer calls the land surrounding the tin arena "spectacular." Spectacular describes Disney World -- a spectacle. Spectacular does not accurately identify flat, mown cow pasture with nary a tree or hill in sight. It does, however, make something of a spectacle of the writer and editors.

The writer also opines that the building has the “potential for ... entertainment for practically every conceivable event imaginable.” Surely the colliding modifiers in this little train of words would awaken an editor? If not, the over-wrought hyperbole might rouse him/her from the land of Nod? Not at the DeSoto Sun, where “editor” is a pay grade, not a job description.

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