Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Qaddafi and the Copy Editor

This may come as a surprise, but I don't read ESPN.com. [Pause for the shock to sink in.] A friend, though, does and sent me this commentary from ESPN sports columnist Gregg Easterbrook on the Qaddafi op-ed in The Times:

 As a Christian, I believe in redemptive power, so I am willing to believe Qaddafi has changed. Still, encountering the jarring sight of an op-ed by Muammar Qaddafi, I envisioned this scene:

FACTOTUM: (Trembling.) Brotherly Leader, we have received the read-back from the Times copy editor.

QADDAFI: Did it come on purest vellum?

FACTOTUM: Not exactly. Staples fax paper, I used an Internet coupon. (Hesitates.) The Times copy editor -- she changed a semicolon.

QADDAFI: Infidel! She will die for this! Have her buried in sand up to her head in the village quad, then let loose the scorpions!

FACTOTUM: (Shaking.) If you would deign to cast your magnificent gaze upon this PDF …

QADDAFI: (Takes the edited copy, reads.) Hey, she's right -- the sentence flows better now. Forget what I said. Send her a thousand red roses. Name a school after her.

FACTOTUM: (Immensely relieved.) Of course!

QADDAFI: Buy the entire day's press run. Also, tell the Times editors if they don't want anything to happen to their fancy new building, give me the crossword puzzle answers in advance. I like to dazzle people by doing the crossword really fast.

FACTOTUM: (Bows.) By your command.


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