Thursday, April 03, 2008

Creating Editing in Government

Michael V. sends this along from the New York Times. It's about limiting the ability of a governor to modify a bill by crossing out words--or even parts of words--to change the meaning of the legislation:

"Seventy-one percent of voters favored a referendum that read to outsiders like some indecipherable grammar lesson, barring the governor from creating “a new sentence by combining parts of two or more sentences.”

They have fought (and laughed) over this before. Voters limited the veto once before, in 1990, rejecting what critics then called the “Vanna White veto,” allowing a governor to cross out letters inside words to make whole new words.

With the letter-flipping practice banned, critics, led by Republican legislators, this time re-named their target the “Frankenstein veto,” focusing on the governor’s ability to merge whole sentences through deletions, and thus, they said, cobble together weird bits of provisions to create whatever monster one cared to.

Read the whole story, if you'd like to. It's creative editing, in its Frankenstein-esque glory. Think of the other applications of this... that memo from your boss? Edit it to say what you want to hear. The prenuptial agreement you signed with your sixth husband? You can make it better...

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