I’ve stopped reading Bay Windows. Not because of editor Sue O’Connell’s political missteps; frankly, it would take a lot more offensiveness to get me to abandon the LBGT weekly I’ve been picking up for fifteen years. And not merely because of the atrocious copyediting. No, I’ve stopped reading Bay Windows because the atrocious copyediting plus the evident carelessness with which the paper is assembled make me feel deeply disrespected as a reader. All too often, it’s obvious that articles have been cut and pasted from e-mails or internet posts, like the item about a voicemail left by the Southie St. Patrick’s parade organizers for a gay group which included the words “audio attached,” or the news briefing which read: “. . . and makes crimes committed against guest blog transgender people subject to treatment as hate crimes.” And, of course, this (the glaring error appeared twice, once on the front page and once in the headline of the editorial).
To quote Marijane Meaker in Shockproof Sidney Skate, “Stop! Stop! I’m a human being!” All I can hope at this point is that if I give these guys a year or so, the next time I grab the paper out of its awkwardly shaped box I won’t get so freaking angry.
So then I was reading The New Yorker, and I noticed what seemed like an overall lack of fi and fl ligatures in “Goings On About Town.” Now, once in a while you do see a typo in the New Yorker these days. It’s quite rare, but it happens. And I consider the absence of ligatures to be a typo in a magazine that consistently uses them. But there were so many missing in the listings this week that I wondered if maybe they’ve just been jettisoned to save time or money. Here are some articles about last fall’s redesign, which, of course, I regarded as a small piece of the sky falling.
Eben, my book designer, told me at his nephew’s birthday party yesterday that there’s actually a good reason to omit ligatures in very small type. The smaller your point size, the more widely spaced your letters need to be for legibility. At a certain point, therefore, the ligature needed to span (for example) the f and the i becomes disproportionately wide and stops serving its purpose. But I’m still not happy about this.
In the same issue of The New Yorker, there was a small ad for a Judaica company. Unfortunately, the word “Judaica” took up most of the space, and it was spelled JUDIACA.
The Weekly Dig, tho. Or Dig Boston as the kids call it. This is the only newspaper I know that’s getting better instead of worse. Props to Chris Faraone who has brought his style, fuck-you-up attitude and social-justice obsessions to his new role as News & Features Editor. Now please stop printing the same “Nothing Mattress” and “What’s for Breakfast” cartoons two weeks in a row and I will love you even more.
FYI, the new Dig is The Boston Counter-Cultural Compass. Congratulations on your 50th issue, you crazy punks!