We're like Freemasons and Julian Schnabel

We spent almost all of today proofreading the April 2008 edition of "Recommended Components." One day of proofreading, however, is not enough.

It requires more, but we're strapped for time. We were supposed to ship to prepress yesterday. "Recommended Components" always ships late, and no matter how careful we are in our proofing, there are always—always—mistakes. John caught errors that I didn't catch, I caught errors that Elizabeth didn't catch, Elizabeth caught errors that John didn't catch, and round and round and round, but there are always more errors. Even if we had 80,000 sets of eyes, specifically hoping to find errors and rub them in our faces, there would still be undiscovered errors. That's just the way it goes.

Going back and re-reading past reviews reveals that there are almost always errors in everything we do. Small errors, errors that make me laugh, errors that make me drop my head in shame.

A joke we have around here is that, like the Freemasons who carefully designed errors into their work, we deliberately preserve these errors to make an important point: Only God is perfect.

We're sorry about the errors.

Still, if you examine any single entry in "Recommended Components," you will find hundreds of hours of serious work. Take, for instance, the entry dedicated to the Benchmark DAC1. The revised entry is made up of 231 words. There may be an error in there somewhere—a typo, a missing period, something. Nevertheless, there are also the hard opinions of both John Marks and John Atkinson, opinions based around comparisons to other similarly priced models, listening tests, and technical measurements.

Have you seen the movie, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly? I haven't yet, but I really want to. When interviewers ask the director, Julian Schnabel, how long it takes him to complete a piece of work, he answers, "Fifty-six years and five minutes." That's how old he is. Probably a little older now. I feel the same way about our work here at Stereophile.

It took us sixty-something years to complete that Benchmark DAC1 entry, errors and all.

Peter's picture

It was... hmmm... odd, but thoughtworthy. And some things is pure genious. If you like french movies, go see it.As for the rest, all too true. Worked as a technical writer before, and even after a few turns proofreading, a unit might sneek in if the whole chain isnt involved in the details, annoying, but it happens.Best regardsPeter