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Friday, March 9, 2012

Feminazi Ok, Slut No

Since I work with the news media I don’t often comment on individual shows, networks, or those who work at these media outlets. But I’d like to weigh in on Rush Limbaugh, the tough-talking buffoon that is finally under fire for his rude approach to discussing politics and issues.

By now you know the story of how the syndicated radio hose called a young lady who testified before Congress about birth control a slut and a whore, and demanded she videotape and post such tapes online of her sexual encounters. It is interesting that advertisers are finally leaving him – some 20 jumped ship this week – because you have to wonder what took them so long.

These advertisers say it’s not his political views that they have an issue with, but the angry manner in which he attacked this woman is what they oppose. No, what they oppose is losing consumers who would push for a boycott of those sponsors. Corporate America cares only about money. When the money pot is threatened, they run like the wind. It’s the same reason they advertise with this idiot in the first place – big ratings equal money. The sponsors don’t care if Rush calls people Feminazis or calls for the rollback on civil rights or opposes gay marriage or anything that creates a fair and decent society. They just want to track sales.

I believe in free speech but not hate speech and he borders on the dark side. But he could call for the raping of kids and the killing of illegal immigrants and I would support his right to say what he wants. I wouldn’t listen to the show or financially support him – but I understand everyone has a right to speak their mind. But to lie or incite hate and violence is always something we don’t want to tolerate. It’s not free speech for a salesman to tell a black customer that he hates all minorities. The company can get sued there. But the salesman on his own time can stand on a street corner and yell out “Blacks should go back to Africa.”

Free speech is tricky when you think about it too much. Let people say what they want but you should feel the moral obligation to oppose them and educate others. Don’t try to stop them from speaking – just explain why they speak nonsense.

In Rush’s case, he can have a blog and call anyone a slut. But on his radio show he’ll need to check his rhetoric, to some degree, if advertisers run away or listeners tune out. Something tells me the former drug addict who has been married four times will continue to say stupid things and the dumber he stoops, the more likely he’ll find a fan base. It’s just up to the rest of us to make it clear that his warped perspective on life is not to be taken seriously.

One thing I will credit Rush with was his ability to rally the right-wing extremists and attempt to make them seem mainstream. He ushered in a new era of mean media. Shows like his and those on Fox  really don not discuss or debate issues; instead he speaks with a hostility not seen in the media of the past. Today, it’s common place to discuss politics as if we were discussing sports, movies, or celebrities. The dialogue is in the gutter. There is no balanced reporting, no decent approaches to explain an issue. Instead, we get name-calling and crazy jumps to wild conclusions. It’s as if the media is campaigning for or against someone. Media bias used to be more contained, more subtle, less common. Today, balanced media means watching the extreme left on MSNBC and then the far right on Fox. You’re left to piece the truth together. Or, you can blindly believe everything everyone tells you, you slut. 


Interview With SPAWN Founder & Author Mary Embree

Mary, what inspired you to write Starting Your Career as a Freelance Editor: A Guide to
Working with Authors, Books, Newsletters, Magazines, Websites and More (Allworth Press)? The editor of Allworth Press, Tad Crawford, asked me to write it because there are no other books on the market addressing a career in freelance editing. Also, I am a published author of several books having to do with writing and word usage and I have been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

How does one go about deciding if editing is a career for them? There are a number of elements that can help one determine if editing is the right choice. First, you have to have an excellent command of the English language and some training and/or experience in editing. To choose it as a long-time career, you must enjoy both the work and the people you will be working with. You will have to understand the requirements of the field in which you will be working and be willing to constantly update your skills. To be a freelancer, you must be well-organized and good at time management.

How do you make the leap to become a freelance editor? Attend meetings and events where writers gather and let them know that you are an editor. Be sure to have business cards showing what you do and how you can be reached and hand them out. Offer to volunteer your editing services to nonprofits. Join organizations that can help you hone your skills and promote your services. Present seminars and workshops on writing. Above all, be open to opportunities and don’t be shy about promoting yourself.

What makes for a good editor? A good editor holds herself and her work to the highest standards. He is patient and enjoys working with writers. She chooses a specialty and learns everything she can about the demands of editing in her chosen field, including studying stylebooks, reading the literature, and taking advanced classes, if necessary. He is professional in every way. Above all, a good editor loves what he or she does.

What types of careers exist for editors?  There are opportunities in nearly every field of endeavor where there is written material that needs to be edited. This includes business publications, theses and dissertations, scientific papers, magazines and periodicals, and in book editing.

What are the challenges involved in establishing an effective editor/client relationship?   Maintaining a professional relationship at all times is the major challenge. This means always being respectful, encouraging, honest, helpful, and kind. When you are changing a person’s writing you are showing that writer what is wrong with his or her work. It is important not to tread on the writer’s feelings while maintaining the integrity of your services and being forthright in your comments. After all, you have been hired to tell the writer the truth and help to make the writing the absolute best it can be. If you have promised a client that you will finish the work by a certain deadline, be sure to do everything in your power to deliver it on time. Make sure the client knows your rates and is expected to pay promptly. If possible, make an estimate of the total charges and keep the client updated if it looks like it is going to take more time and will cost more that the estimate.

Mary, you founded SPAWN (Small Publishers Artists & Writers Network). Do you find many authors need a good editor but they resist using one? New, unskilled writers often resist using an editor because they don’t understand the value of a good editor. Those who have done some writing in their work, especially in upper-level jobs, know that a qualified editor will make them look better and will put their writing on a higher professional level. I haven’t personally seen much resistance to using the services of an editor.

What are some pros-cons to freelancing? The pros are: you are your own boss, you choose who you work for and what kinds of writing you work on you set your own schedule, you don’t have to please a supervisor, you can’t be fired, except by the individual client, you are doing what you enjoy (or you shouldn’t be an editor).  The cons are: you won’t get a regular paycheck, you won’t get paid vacations and sick leave, you have to pay all of your business expenses, you have to update your equipment from time to time, you will often work long hours, you may have to take a second job in slow times. You may need to pay for legal advice and the services of an accountant.

Do you enjoy writing as much as you do editing?  I have to admit that I am a writer first and an editor second. I enjoy working with writers and helping make their work shine but writing is my first love. It is harder and more demanding than editing, but my own writing is my baby, not someone else’s, and I can shape it any way I want. However, I do love being edited. For me, it’s like getting a massage. I am always so grateful for a good editor because they make me look like a better writer.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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