Vanishing Roads and Other Essays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 267 pages of information about Vanishing Roads and Other Essays.

After all, the great and good man has his greatness and goodness to support him, though the world should unite in depreciating him.  The artist has his genius, the beautiful woman has her beauty.  ’Tis in ourselves that we are thus and thus; and if fame must have gossip for its seamy side, there are some satisfactions that cannot be stolen away, and some laurels that defy the worm.

XI

THE PASSING AWAY OF THE EDITOR

The word “editor” as applied to the conductors of magazines and newspapers is rapidly becoming a mere courtesy title; for the powers and functions formerly exercised by editors, properly so called, are being more and more usurped by the capitalist proprietor.  There are not a few magazines where the “editor” has hardly more say in the acceptance of a manuscript than the contributor who sends it in.  Few are the editors left who uphold the magisterial dignity and awe with which the name of editor was wont to be invested.  These survive owing chiefly to the prestige of long service, and even they are not always free from the encroachments of the new method.  The proprietor still feels the irksome necessity of treating their editorial policies with respect, though secretly chafing for the moment when they shall give place to more manageable, modern tools.

The “new” editor, in fact, is little more than a clerk doing the bidding of his proprietor, and the proprietor’s idea of editing is slavishly to truckle to the public taste—­or rather to his crude conception of the public taste.  The only real editors of today are the capitalist and the public.  The nominal editor is merely an office-boy of larger growth, and slightly larger salary.

Innocent souls still, of course, imagine him clothed with divine powers, and letters of introduction to him are still sought after by the superstitious beginner.  Alas! the chances are that the better he thinks of your MS. the less likely is it to be accepted by—­the proprietor; for Mr. Snooks, the proprietor, has decided tastes of his own, and a peculiar distaste for anything remotely savouring of the “literary.”  His broad editorial axiom is that a popular magazine should be everything and anything but—­“literature.”  For any signs of the literary taint he keeps open a stern and ever-watchful eye, and the “editor” or “editorial assistant”—­to make a distinction without a difference—­whom he should suspect of literary leanings has but a short shrift.  Mr. Snooks is seldom much of a reader himself.  His activities have been exclusively financial, and he has drifted into the magazine business as he might have drifted into pork or theatres—­from purely financial reasons.  His literary needs are bounded on the north by a detective story, and on the south by a scientific article.  The old masters of literature are as much foolishness to him as the old masters of painting.  In short, he is just a common, ignorant man with money invested in

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Vanishing Roads and Other Essays from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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