Today my name is Angela.
Well, actually, my name was Angela for a couple days while I was in Park City because a filmmaker, while reaching out to journalists to cover their short film, sent an email to me without editing the cut and paste from the last time they had sent out the email and therefore – Angela.
Now, I have made these cut and paste, missed edits countless times in my life. I have been embarrassed, and mortified when I have done it and then shrugged it off when I have received them. Countless times. So, this one made me laugh. Because I know. I KNOW what it’s like to be on the other side of that. Hell, one time it caused me to lose a job because the person I worked for was so tightly wound it literally caused her to lose her shit. Okay, with apologies to David Cross and one of my favorite bits of his, she did not literally LOSE her shit. I’m pretty sure she always knew exactly where her shit was. Mainly because she was always so full of it. But I kid. With truth.
Anyway, back to my response to this filmmaker: There are priorities in life. And yes, there is balance to be had and no one wants to be sloppy, but there is also a point where everyone says, “We get it. We understand what the intention is here. We can see the big picture and because of that – we can move on and go on about our business.”
But some people can’t. A few months ago, I sent out a press release and in the lead from the first paragraph, similar to this: Dallas, TX (January 13, 2017), I drew the ire of a journalist who was insistent that I had violated AP style by not spelling out the word “Texas.” I replied politely that I had been doing that for years and had seen others do it as well so I think everyone was managing just fine with my press releases emanating from Dallas, leading that way. But he was having none of it. It was an embarrassment. I should be embarrassed for myself because everyone was definitely judging me for not spelling out Texas for God’s sake. I mean, it isn’t as if it’s a postal code!
Fortunately, to this day I have not been lynched by the AP Style Society. No one has picketed my house. Justina, my wife, has not had her invitations to the sewing circle rescinded. Okay, there is no sewing circle. And if there was one, I’d deliberately make some more grievous AP Style errors in order to get her kicked out because that would be totally rock n’ roll, right?
Back to the filmmaker. It turned out to be a cool little film and I’m very happy to shine a little press love on it. And I always think in those moments when I am on the other side of this equation that as lame as I may be for having missed the typo or having not caught the cut and paste name or change that I should have before sending on the email, that I hope the person on the receiving end has the same approach and philosophy as I do – to not sweat the small stuff, to be able to focus on what I believe is important: the “mission”, the message, the task at hand, etc. And I worry that they are going to be like the AP Style journalist, spinning out in their head over an abbreviation and missing the forest for that two-letter long tree.
But for today, I am more than happy to be known as “Angela.”
What about you? Where do you fall in this style versus substance debate?