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Not Even Good Enough for the Blog

Still noodling yesterday's Arianna Huffington blog comment about how Norman Mailer et al can now post their thoughts "unfiltered, uncensored, unedited" -- a remarkable libel against the ancient craft of editing. All writers need editors. Even Moses had an editor, who cut the commandments from 12 to 10 (the editor argued that both "Thou Shalt Not Talk During Movies" and "Thou Shalt Not Double Dip the Chip" lacked the gravitas of the rest).

This will boggle the minds of readers of this blog, but I routinely write stuff that never gets published, EVEN HERE, because it's so lame. I know, it's hard to imagine there's any standard at all. My main job these days is to write a weekly column for the magazine, and when the column is weak, my editor, Sydney, will say, gently, "I think this is a blog item." The blog is the Realm of the Rejected. But there's stuff that's even too awful for the blog. I keep this material in my computer on the off chance that someday I'll figure out how to rescue it with a sudden humor injection. Here's an example of the start of a column that was D.O.A.:

Night Gardening

By J.A.

If there's one thing I can't stand about night gardening it's that I can't see a dang thing. It's driving me crazy and I'm not sure what to do about it.

Sure, I shine a light on the back yard, but it's not really effective beyond a certain distance and there are lots of shadows and blind spots. I keep digging up "weeds" that turn out to be desirable flowers. Twice I've hit my foot with the shovel and drawn blood. I planted five rows of what I thought were pole beans and only discovered later they were actually dry roasted cocktail peanuts.

My wife, Lulu, argues that I should garden during the daytime. I'm not sure what to do with her, she's so obsessed with the way things ought to be, the order of things, the correct pronunciation of stuff, making lists, having a schedule. Whatever happened to Freedom? It's my yard. I grow things. The sun going down's not going to stop me....

BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 19, 2005; 12:07 PM ET
 
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