Leaving Only Theists'
Letters Uncorrected?
Carey Sherrill

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Carey Sherrill"
Subject: Re: My own rope
Date: Wednesday, January 24, 2001 7:13 PM

I correct most letters. This is why I get so much further behind on this aspect than I would if I didn't work long hours making most of these things, theist and atheist alike, at least readable. (One would think people would be more careful with material they are submitting to a publication, especially owing to just how many so-called alternative organs print what you write verbatim, "sic" notations and all!)

Usually, the only ones I don't correct are the ones that both are arrogant and which denounce me for being stupid or uneducated, etc. In most cases, you gotta have both to go in entirely uncorrected. To display the atrocious writing of a pompous ass is an editorial statement in itself.

Occasionally, an atheist or a polite person will write a letter that would take far too much work to correct, but is still readable as is. Other times, to try to correct it would be to significantly change what it's saying simply because I can't tell for sure what the writer means, exactly.

Most letters are actually pretty good, and I'll just leave a letter alone because it's fine for my purposes. Usually I will at least run it through the spell checker and capitalize words such as Christian and Bible and the like and change all the dashes so that they look like -- this.

It is proper to correct letters to the editor, and even to edit them for content. I don't change the content. (There's one exception: offensive epithets. I will change "fundie" to "fundamentalist" and "xian" to "Christian." I have done this to a lot of letters from atheists! To me, this language is sheer bigotry: it's entirely unnecessary, so I try to keep it off my website.) I will also delete personal notes at the beginning of a letter.

For the most part, I judge letters on a pass-fail basis; it is not my self-defined role to rewrite the content of these things; but as an editor, it is my prerogative.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

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