New Sun-Times Lit Editor Savored a Whiskey Whose Name She Misspells

Posted by Anneli Rufus at 10:03 am, Friday, June 23, 2006

Sam Jones at links to a Chicago Sun-Times article in which that paper’s new literary editor introduces herself. In “A Book Lover’s Approach to Her New Job,” Cheryl Reed tells us that after devouring a biography of Simone de Beauvoir, she felt “as if I had lost a wise, old friend. In my grief, I drove to a liquor store and, though at age 24 I was not a Scotch drinker, I bought a bottle of Johnny Walker Red because that’s what Simone drank. The bottle was expensive for a young journalist, and I had the clerk wrap it in red paper to further celebrate my extravagance. Then, in the privacy of my studio apartment, I held my own memorial for a great author, toasting the person whose determination to be a writer had so inspired me.” Okay. So if she spent thaaaat much time reading about this fine liquid, buying a bottle, watching it being wrapped, and doing a ritual with it at home, and if she’s a journalist, how could she manage not to notice that the proper spelling of its name is not “Johnny” Walker but Johnnie Walker. (Or did she spell it right originally and some wily copyeditor messed with her?) This kind of error will not inspire Chicago-area readers with confidence. Nor will this grotesque sentence, later in the article: “With slick advertising, vague book titles and artfully designed jackets, clever marketing has propelled mediocre books to the best sellers lists.” Best sellers lists? Reed reassures her readers: “You’ll also notice a greater focus on women writers and books that appeal to female readers…. Don’t worry. We’re not forgetting books that men enjoy. There will still be plenty of reviews on books about sports and business.” Ummm — imagine what would happen if a male literary editor announced, “We’ll still review books that ladies like: cookbooks, for example, and books on shopping and doing your hair.” Reed adds: “But there will be even more on biographies and nonfiction titles.” Umm … reviews on books, not of them? Weird! Or is it some kind of Midwestern slang?

8 Responses to “New Sun-Times Lit Editor Savored a Whiskey Whose Name She Misspells

  1. Sam Says:

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    You make some good points, Dibsy. What really bugged me was:

    “And professional book reviewers sometimes write with such literary references, as if the reader has a master’s degree in 19th century literature. What’s a reader to do?”

    I don’t know. Maybe, god forbid, learn something?

  2. Danny Says:

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    Once again, I find myself laughing my ass off at one of your posts. This is priceless. Thanks!

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