Editing and Charitable Reading


Posted by Cynic | Posted in Anarchism / Voluntaryism, Cynicism, Logic | Posted on 31-12-2014


It seems that fewer and fewer people today are capable of actually reading, and even fewer are capable of a charitable read. The concept of a charitable read is important, but seems to have been lost.

Today I read a simple article that you can find here. In it, I found this:

“And sorry, we can’t yet tell you what’ll [sic] be,” the post reads, in part.

In there “[sic]” indicates that the editor has detected an error. You can read about that here.

From the quotation, there is nothing grammatically wrong about it. Truncating some and expanding some, we can derive this:

We cannot tell you what will be.

There is no error there. In fact, a charitable read would be to possibly infer that the speaker is making an allusion to Doris Day singing “Que Sera, Sera“.

This assumption may not be correct, but it doesn’t change the grammatical correctness of the sentence. If my assumption is correct, the speaker has been rather eloquent, and the editor has been rather ignorant.

Though the sentence does have a certain “flavour”, there is no error.

This indicates to me that editors are sometimes ignorant of English grammar, and unwilling to entertain the idea of English grammar structures that don’t fit into a strict set of prescriptive criteria.

Abstracting this to a bit more of a higher level, I have seen in many cases where readers are unwilling to try to understand the speaker, and instead interpret the speaker in the worst light possible. This is the exact opposite of a charitable read, and is anathema to any kind of productive intellectual discourse.

If you are unwilling to try to understand the person you are speaking with, there is no point in even talking. Simply admit that you are a closed-minded asshole and walk away. That saves everyone a good amount of time.