25 July 2008

Say it like you mean it

And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, shittest of all, you have removed the unstressed "a" so that the stress that should have fallen on "nosh" is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you're winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can't you hear? Can't you hear that it is wrong? It's not fucking rocket science. It's fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable.

The Guardian newspaper is rather smugly making a meal out of this guy, Giles Coren, who is a restaurant critic rapidly gaining a reputation for firing off self-obsessed, expletive laden emails with a rage totally out of all proportion, regarding the sub-editing of his restuarant reviews - for pity's sake. Here's today's article, they lifted it out of the media gossip column from yesterday and plonked it on the front page of the web edition.

Being both writer and editor for different kinds of jobs, I find this truly hilarious. If I got such a roasting for subbing a piece, I don't think I'd release it to the Guardian but instead print it out at 150% and pin it up in the office, with the choicest bits picked out in yellow highlighter.

Really, if he was writing a peace accord between the Balkans states where one word out of place might mean the deaths of hundreds? Fine. Or perhaps a carbon emissions deal with China's communist government to try to reduce a quarter of the world'd pollution. But a restaurant review? Get your hand off it man!

But then, as an occasional author, when subject matter experts just move sentence elements around for no good reason and make them scan poorly, I get pretty narky too. As the Guardian writer says: "thanks buddy, you've taken one for the team."

(This post is dedicated to Dad, Alison and The_Christian who all know better where to put a comma than I).


Betty Sue said...

here's one for you, my fellow grammarian:

(by the way, I thought his point was that by removing the 'a' they had killed off his joke and made the paragraph fall flat? but yeah, it's only a restauarant review.

J said...


Dad said...

'.. who all know where to put a comma better than me' (from Dad)

BSharp said...

heheh. : D

But I'm not so sure, you know, in this istance, isn't the missing verb implied verb "to do", so if you take out the clause - it could be an abbreviated sentene that is saying "who know better [...] than I do."


"whow know better [...} than me".

Ok maybe you're right. Dammit.