Grammar Nerd Heaven aka American Copy Editors Society Conference

I’m a member of the American Copy Editors Society (ACES). I spent several days in Pittsburgh for their annual conference. For months I have been participating in their #ACESChat every other week. I was so excited to meet my copy editor friends in the physical real, so excited to discuss grammar, editing, and inclusionary language. ACES 2015 did not disappoint. It was like living my favorite dream for three days.

These are my people.

It was a sentiment that rang from every session, swept through the halls, and surged from the chests of all the attendees. Copy editors, are notoriously introverted. We spend most of our days in cubicles and offices, alone, reading, writing, reading about writing, and writing about reading. We are often surrounded by people who do not understand how much we love the English language.

But — for three glorious days — we are engulfed by people who get it.

For three days, we didn’t have to hide our nerdiness. For three days, we didn’t have to explain what “decompress” means or why we need to do it every day. We were free to love language and punctuation and there were no apologies necessary. In fact, we reveled in it. Continue reading

So… Jeff Rice came to lecture about Beer?

Last week, Jeff Rice from University of Kentucky visited DePaul’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse to lecture about his coming book, Craft Identity. It’s all about social media and society told through the lens of craft beer. Rice is really seriously into craft beer.

The flyer for Jeff Rice's Lecture at DePaul Univeristy on October 21.

The flyer for Jeff Rice’s Lecture at DePaul Univeristy on October 21.

I noticed immediately that Rice is heavily influenced by Marshall McLuhan, the author of The Medium is the Massage.

A short aside: McLuhan is extremely abstract. He argues that society is now governed by print media rules, logical uninterrupted arguments that flow from beginning to end. But digital media now dominate we continue to judge digital media by print media standards.

Now back to Rice. He argues that to understand the power of social media we have to throw out the print standard that arguments flow from one complete thought to the next. In social media, it’s more like a series of thoughts that interrupt and overlap each other and make a complete argument or pattern.

Now comes the interesting part, he made this argument by writing his book as a series of thoughts that interrupt and overlap each other. It was an interesting concept, although a little hard to follow, given the venue.

After a serious mulling and a talk with a professor who attended the lecture as well, I was able to piece together the description above.  I’m certain Craft Identity will be required or recommended reading for one of my upcoming classes. I hope I will better understand once I am able to read to whole book for myself.

Find Rice’s other books here.