Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Unintended Consequences of Bad Editing

It's axiomatic that good writing requires good editing, and bad editing can have unintended consequences. 

Take for example the piece of junk mail I received yesterday from The Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.(Junk mail rage in general will be the subject of a future blog post, but for now let's focus on bad editing).

The text in this picture is hard to see, but the front of the newsletter features David Euhus, the New Chief of Breast Surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology at Johns Hopkins. He is described as, and I quote: having "an enduring fascination with this complex organ [the breast]." He also, and I quote: "hasn't lost his fascination with the breast, which he describes as the second most interesting organ in the body, after the brain."

Now. My first question is what makes this guy more qualified than anyone else for this job? Is it his piercing blue eyes? Is it his neat pin-striped tie? Is it his precise amount of facial hair, which clinical studies have shown women find the most attractive on a scale from clean-shaven to Papa Pilgrim/Santa Claus? 

It must be, because as far as I can tell, every single heterosexual man has "an enduring fascination" with the breast, and finds it to be "the second most interesting organ in the body, after the brain." Indeed, many men find the breast to be THE most interesting organ in the body, well BEFORE the brain. So in fact, Hopkins actually hired the second most qualified guy for this job, at best. 

My second question is what to do about this, short of firing Dr. Euhus in favor of someone who puts the breast first, not second. But that seems extreme, so I'll handle it this way: I was going to commission a planetarium at Hopkins in the shape of a giant boob with a cell phone tower on top disguised as a nipple, but I'm putting my donation on hold until the Kimmel Center gets a better editor for its newsletter.

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