Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Editing And Censorship

Posted July 25, 2012 by jim young in Lifestyle

Photo by Resolute (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

– jim young

I recently submitted my Dog On A Root article “Calgary Stampede Has License To Practice Animal Abuse” to a local newspaper, The Barrie Examiner as a Letter to the Editor.

They published it as the “Letter of the Day”.

But not without some changes.

I do not object to an editor making minor changes to correct spelling and obvious grammatical errors, although sometimes even what may be considered a grammatical error on my part may have been my intent.

Beyond that – I consider all other changes – including changes in formatting and paragraph structure to be censorship.

And as a writer, I abhor censorship.

They made changes right from the start beginning with the title “Stamp out animal abuse” used on one page. (And since when aren’t at LEAST the key words of a title capitalized?)

For the most part, I have trouble writing titles for my articles and I wish I could get someone else to write them for me. But it would have to be someone cleverer than whatever Barrie Examiner staff member came up with that one.

When I finally decide upon a title I have composed myself – I don’t want anyone else to fuck with it; at least not without my prior approval.

I think my title was more of a grabber than “Stamp Out Animal Abuse”, which is a little old and overused.

No one is going to get too excited about an article titled “Stamp Out Animal Abuse”.

No one is going to take a stand against stamping out animal abuse. Who doesn’t want to stamp out animal abuse?

So “Ho hum; it’s just another article about animal abuse.”

It’s a passive title for an article intended to encourage a call to action.

But to suggest that the Calgary Stampede has a license to PRACTICE animal abuse… well that’s going to evoke some emotion in the reader and hopefully inspire the reader to get involved.

“Hit stampede in pocketbook in order to stop animal abuse” (again without proper capitalization) is the title used immediately prior to my article. Why The Barrie Examiner required 2 titles is beyond me. The title is a little bit better – but kind of a spoiler as it gives away the suggestion for action that I build to at the end of my article.

I also object to The Barrie Examiner changing “I call bullshit!” to “I call this bull.”

It’s like printing the word “f**k”.

When you see “f**k” you KNOW that the “**” stands for “uc”. EVERYONE knows it.

EVERYONE knows you mean “fuck” so why not just print “fuck”?

“I call bullshit!” is a much angrier expression than “I call this bull.” It was meant to be angry – fucking angry!

“I call this bull” could easily be replaced with “I disagree,” for all the emotion it carries.

But I didn’t “disagree” – I called “BULLSHIT!”

“I call bullshit!” is a common expression used by the common man. That’s who I write for. If The Barrie Examiner does not want to reach the common man, they should not have published my article.

To submit my article to The Barrie Examiner, contact information was required for verification purposes.

Fair enough.

I am reluctant to provide my phone number to anyone because I do not like talking to people on the telephone. I prefer my contact by email.

But in spite of all the contact information I provided – phone number, email address and letter mail address – The Barrie Examiner did not try to contact me.

That they chose NOT to verify my article is their business.

That they chose to censor my article WITHOUT my permission is my business.

Lastly they did not even have the decency to include the link to Dog On A Root that I provided them with.

Could it be The Barrie Examiner is afraid I will steal their readers even though I use words like “bullshit”, “hell” and oh my, “fuck” on Dog On A Root?

If they are such nasty words that their readers would be offended to the point of boycotting the source – just what is The Barrie Examiner afraid of?

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