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The Human Touch Software of the Highest Order: Revisiting Editing as Interpretation
Abstract

Abstract:

A rigid set of orthodoxies, a "right" way of doing editorial business, need not inform our practices in order for them to be principled, rigorous, and reliably according to standard. Instead the rule that should continue to inform all of what we do is the lesbian rule, lesbian not in the sense of Showtime's The L Word series but in a seventeenth-century architectural sense. That lesbian rule was/is the principle invoked for difficult challenges in construction (such as arches, irregular corners, and the like) and thus is a principle that is pliant and accommodating in its faithful adherence to standards. In order for editorial praxes to obtain the rigor and sharp discipline required of principled methodologies, our pliant and accommodating standards need also to be more interdisciplinary and take into account the "messy" facts of authorship, production, and reception: race, class, gender, and sexuality. This essay extends some of my previous observations about technologies and texts to argue that embracing messy humanity in all its diversities, even as we embrace new technologies, is no longer a luxury for our community, it is a necessity.