Ben Yagoda just published a book, When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It a new conscript in the swelling ranks of books about grammar. I learned about the book from an episode of Fresh Air, a show broadcast on National Public Radio. (I've attached a link to the segment on the book. Unfortunately, you will have to listen, there isn't a transcript available. Its all here.) In addition to praising the book and its author, the episode advanced a thesis on the cause of the grammar book fad. The reviewer claimed that grammar books let us imagine that real order exists. We can bring sense to a chaotic world just by using commas properly. But do you think that's why people are buying grammar books? What about the sense of superiority that comes with being right? Or the thrill of trivia?
Following from that, what are the base pleasures of copy editing? And for Frank, what are the lower pleasures in your job? To help clarify, let me give an example. I used to write press releases for my high school. When I wrote I would sometimes sit and giggle giddily for long stretches as I marveled at my own cleverness. I certainly felt the "higher" aesthetic pleasures of writing, but there were aspect that I enjoyed simply as fun. Everyone who writes writes, in some way, for glory, or at least thats what I read somewhere. What about the people who support writers? What about anybody? I certainly enjoy the copy editing I've done in part because it makes me feel clever. I'll see if that persists after the test.