Category Archives: edit redact


Centres and peripheries each play their part, drawing together cannons, articulating orthodoxies, cementing and challenging temporal and spiritual power, upholstering seats of state and empire, and priming charges in political flashpoints.

History of publishing is one with future of publishing; no certainties, always subject to commentating voices, backstage murmurs and cabals.

Date and place of publication identify when and where thought and communication wriggle and shift in historical lines and circular time.


Publishing is a business of alarums and excursions, and of the immediacy possible between molecules. SMS is ideal for SOS, but for details of the emergency, applying remedies and holding to account, a more sustained medium is needed.

Thinking it through is at the core of the editorial task, mediating the immediate, ensuring some longevity for an argument, being wary of new facts, weighing, pondering, deciding, creating lasting communication that will never be the last word.

Consideration, consultation, concordance are better done before going public.  There are limits to the order that liberates.


Edit, edition, redact, redaction, adding, holding back, pointing, punctuating, all at another edge of clarity.

No telling anyone how to read a book, they say, but authors, editors and designers are some of those who guide and cajole the eye and mind as it voyages on this or the other bearing.  Publishers were never so neutral that they didn’t anticipate shades of print experience.

That’s before the digital user was imagined, when the honesty of the text engendered a critical apparatus to surround book-reading, bowing to readers’ suspicions. A different questioning arises for non-linear and media-mixed creations and it focuses on form, arrangement and navigation rather than destination, intention and effect.


Adding notes in the margins, in pencil, on the screen, someone watches and reads the mixing of a reader’s thought with that of the writer. Sometimes, decades or centuries later, these intrigue, enlighten, amuse or mystify when found in backstreet shop, deepness of a library store, or ignored attic book shelves.

Attempts to recreate lists and pre-create annotations provide ready and mass-produced discovery to replace the receding memory tapestry. Those who can decide, take it upon themselves to interpret, determine and present collections.

Publishers and librarians have become publishing and library directors, or worse, have titles like director of these or those services.


Editing takes place at the margins, where change occurs, but redaction hits at the core where no change is normally allowed. Literatim, brick by brick, adjusting the structure within the footprint determined by law and design; overstepping the ability of the materials to hold up under the strain.

An editorial architecture can open up a space for life, or create sterility like that of international airports, bridges, or opera houses: apotheosized constructs of cultural capitalism.  Like a building put down on an over-planned and systematic global template, a redacted text struggles for its life beyond its immediate purpose, while classy editing produces living breathing publishing vistas.


Feeding on user-generated surveillance, antisocial media shouts the previously whispered.  Stalking, snooping, eyes-in-the-sky, optical fibres through the keyholes of skin, identity captured before any act, yet further and further away from knowledge that might come from such intimacy. Sometimes wiki-ish secrets shine a light on expo-intel, but mostly there’s just reinforcement of the holy mysteries of what the dronish data gatherers think is knowledge.

Without a publishing perspective to propose a style of presentation, there’s nothing to indicate a possible consensus or dissent, no pricks to kick against, no selection or omission. On-screen editing, recognizing face and registration information puts us and all our features in order, like dominoes waiting to fall.


Images manipulated by extended pointillism: dots, pixels, screened, digitized, still and moving, silent and voiced, extend creative text and illustration from printed page to almost everywhere.

Text and vision, held together in the publishing, exploded in the hyperspaces, tentacled not textured, no longer captured by a caption, not single or small, no longer in time, not a portion or percentage, but encompassing not selecting a wholer than whole rational unrationedness.

Images are projected as contradictions of poverty on the wealthy edifices of the world city, while portraits and cameo shots for the family album are pre-censored by image deniers.


Newly adapted and re-meaninged like rendition, redaction is no longer an innocent description of wordsmithery and the fashioning of fascicules, but betrays a more directive textual governance.

Rendering the text through changes, black-out obvious or black-out hidden, makes mock of the publication’s personality, style, celebrity, a stark reduction to half or quarter meaning, gaping with a gappy smile or grimace.

With these visibly missing meanings, the result is both less than and more than the authored text. Redaction black-outs have become a narrative tool, a bar-code for censors.

Read!  Action!


Publishing relies on development of text, selection, amendment, styling, checking, spelling, punctuation, maintaining standards, punctiliousness.  Red, blue, yellow and black ink and other coloured pencil suggest control, management of form and content, editing, proofing, approval.

Editing as choice, refining meaning and presentation, brings out register and voice, detail and distinction, varieties of truth and vision.  Enhancing but not embellishing originality, marking progress in a narrative or argument, working with rather than against creation.

Say “thank you” to the editor.