Funny what will prompt a return to blogging. It could be a piece of news that only matters to a very small percentage of the population (me among them). Or it could be a spouse's commandeering of the television to watch Glee.
Whatever the case, I was reminded again today from the most unlikely of sources that, despite my best efforts and despite what you all may think, I in fact do not know it all. Remaining teachable and pliable is as much a life skill as kindness, patience, and the ability to find refuge when your wife turns the channel.
A handful of you may have heard the news that the Associated Press announced Tuesday it is changing the acceptable style of the term "Web site" to "website." Fewer of you probably cared. Most of you have been writing it as "website" since around 2001, and have thus subjected habitual editors like myself to the visual equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for the better part of a decade.
According to one source, the change "comes in response to reader input." This organization, in existence since 1846 and still considered the authority in standardizing news writing, is changing its position based on feedback.
It's tempting to look at this as a case of, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." After all, "reader input" could be the AP's way of saying, "You Neanderthals can't get it right, so we might as well all be on the same page." But the entry in the AP Stylebook instructs news writers that "Web site" is correct, but so is "webcam" and "webcast." Most likely, the inconsistency was too blatant to ignore any longer, and the news service did the reasonable and appropriate thing and made the correction.
I know. Given my well-noted disdain for modern journalism, it seems odd to take a lesson from the AP. So, consider as well the piece I wrote on another site regarding Heinz's new ketchup packet. Here again, an organization with longstanding success takes constructive criticism and improves itself as a result.
And that's the key. No one likes correction or being told their work is not adequate. In my former life as a politico, my congressman boss almost never liked the first draft of my press releases or statements. I could literally hand him a copy of the Bible and he would hand it back with edits. But I'm a better writer today because I was pushed to improve then.
It's not just the young who can stand to improve and successfully do so. If entities as entrenched as Heinz and the AP can evolve, there's hope for us all.
This becomes especially important when we apply it to the way we treat one another. "There's nobody living right, not even one," it's said. That quote refers to morality, but its application can be universal if we choose to make it so. In any given area, you've not yet arrived. Nor has anyone else. There's work to be done.
If you need proof, look no further than prime time television.
You feel me?