Anal-Retentive Editors and the Death of Language

An article American Journalism Review indulges the world of OCD editors by surveying a group of writers for the strangest anal inanities they've encountered:

Andrea Billups, staff correspondent, People magazine: "I once worked at a paper where the top editor banned in a memo use of the term 'nitty gritty,' claiming it was Jazz-era slang for female genitalia. Having looked it up, I'm fairly sure that it's not. I suppose I would agree that it's jargon, though. But that was never the argument. It seems, in retrospect, a tad nutty if you ask me, but most editors, if they last long enough, come up with these insipid sacred cows that they enforce just because they can. Maybe it's just editorial dementia."

Rest assured, Billups is much happier at People, where the editorial dementia has only resulted in the banning of words like "vagina." Because they're polysyllabic, that is.

Everyone's a Grammarian [AJR]