Cut and Paste

Cut and paste: (adj) assembled or produced from various existing bits and pieces:

I do not think there is anything we used to do that is better than what we’re doing now.

I know, as I get older, I should be cranky about losing favorite practices, which have been swept away by trending winds.

I just don’t feel that way.

I think the human race has one endearing quality. We like to find an easier way to do things and then later pretend it was complicated—developing a story about our struggle.

Years ago, I published a street newspaper. It was a combination of news stories, commentary, cartoons and a sprinkling of creative notions. There were no home computers which could be used to lay out this newspaper simply by punching buttons and shifting keys—and if there were, they were experimental, being tested at the New York Times.

We had to cut and paste.

All we had to assist us was a word processor, on which we typed the articles, a pencil set used to draw the cartoons, a pair of scissors for cutting out the pieces so they would fit into the space provided, and a jar of rubber cement, which was put on the back of the stories so they could be glued into their proper place. Then the master was run through a printer and translated, ala Gutenberg, onto newsprint.

Two things were necessary—a ruler and patience.

The ruler was needed to put the stories down straight so they wouldn’t look crooked. And patience—because miscalculations caused the formatting of the master copy to be a-kilter.

The only salvation was convincing oneself—and I mean thoroughly—that cutting and pasting copy onto a master layout was great fun. Matter of fact, nothing had been so delightful since Belgian waffles received their first dousing of powdered sugar.

Yet I would never want to go back to that era.

I don’t think it was better.

But I do think we have many journalists, cartoonists, writers and contributors who believe all they have to do is splatter some random paragraphs onto a screen, and suddenly they’re vying for a Pulitzer.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

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