The Santa Barbara Alternative

Santa Barbara is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is nestled against the backdrop of several 4,000-foot peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and its unique south-facing view of the Pacific Ocean is framed by Santa Cruz, the largest and tallest of California’s Channel Islands chain.

If one factors in the hospitable climate and the pleasing vernacular architecture (Spanish Colonial Revival), it perhaps comes as no surprise that the literary critic Edmund Wilson would refer to its lifestyle as “living and rejoicing in life among the primordial magnificence in the world.”

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Vigilante Copyeditor

As an editor by trade, I see printed words all around me that don’t conform to the standard conventions of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  It doesn’t particularly bother me.  I am more amused than bothered: I simply can’t be that persnickety.  Plus, I know enough about the history of the English language to know that errors can sometimes be revealing like defects or imperfections in the mirror of everyday experience.  But in this New York Times video a vigilante copyeditor has highlighted those imperfections in an unlikely place, raising editorial fastidiousness to new heights. It’s a hymn to unintended layers of language in a quiet courtyard.