Volume I - Editor's Notes - Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors

Volume I – Editor’s Notes

The role of an editor in any written document is very difficult to describe. If you look to movies for insight, editors are often portrayed as difficult, even ornery autocrats who demand cuts and changes that compromise the author’s intent and message. They rule from either opulent offices or small, cluttered rooms stacked high with books. In our situation, neither was the case. This book was a co-operative and synergistic effort. The editor’s role was to facilitate the author whose statements, views and beliefs were based on significant research, experience and insight in a field where the editor has only passing knowledge.

If we did look for a more apt description of the role of the editor in this document, an accurate analogy would be the “editor as mid-wife.” Not giving life, but breathing life into this new creation whose gestation period was 5 years.

Early into the book’s creation, there was a conscious decision which impacted both author and editor: as a format, we would use a Canadian style of language/approach which encompassed spelling and numeration, including both imperial and metric versions. For example, the accepted American spelling of “honor” becomes “honour” in “Canadaspeak.” Ditto with “colour” and “rumour.” “Fiber” becomes “fibre.” In a more extreme example, “maneuver” becomes “manoeuvre”, clearly indicating the French influence in Canadian English. Somewhat inexplicably, an extra “l” is added to words like “modeled” and “labeled.” For the food purist, “omelet” becomes “omelette,” yet another example of the French connection. These are but some examples of what could be construed of typographical errors. Why go to all this trouble? After all, language-based software is produced in the United States which promotes American spelling. It was, in a word, a matter of honour. Although this book is clearly destined for an American market, it was felt that its country of origin was Canada. It’s also important to remember that, historically, the Weiders, who had an immense impact on the Iron Game, originally came from Montreal, Canada. Our intent was not to create more “smoke and mirrors.” Our purpose was, incorporating the thoughts of a great Canadian media-specialist Marshall McLuhan, to send a very clear message via the medium of language that Canadian identity is worth promoting. When you live next door to a cultural giant, even this small distinction is important.

George Harrod