From the Left



Wanted: Continuity Editors

Ted Rall on

The world needs more continuity editors.

Filmmakers hire them to check for plot holes. Like, in "Forrest Gump" the lead character's friend Lieutenant Dan couldn't have invested their money in Apple Computer in 1976 because the company didn't go public until four years later. Or, in "Pulp Fiction" when hitmen played by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta narrowly avoid being shot, the bullet holes appear in the wall behind them before the first shot is fired.

Continuity editors ensure that a movie makes sense, has a consistent look, sound and feel throughout, and moves at the right pace or combination of paces. They axe scenes that don't advance the plot and insert new ones to fill in explanations and backgrounds in order to smooth out awkward transitions.

They track the big picture.

Hollywood isn't the only place that needs them.

As the United States keeps sliding its slimy way through economic and sociopolitical decline toward the bubbly, brown pit of collapse, our desperate need for people tasked with keeping track of the big picture and given the power to fix inconsistencies -- or have access to those with that power -- becomes increasingly apparent.


The biggest, most storied organizations have a C-something-O for everything from CFO to CIO to CTO to CDO (diversity). Few (I'd say all but I must allow for the fact that I do not and cannot know everything and everyone) employ a person who brings an outsider's viewpoint to the deep inside of a corporate boardroom.

Large news organizations like The New York Times, for example, compile, process and disseminate a product whose breadth and depth objectively looks and feels like a miracle every single day. Yet the Times would benefit from an editor with a bird's-eye view.

Because the left hand of the New York Times Book Review, a Sunday supplement, doesn't know what the right hand of the features editors who labor in the daily editions is up to, the paper often runs two or even three reviews of the same title. Meanwhile, it fails to review most titles entirely.

Pundits on the op-ed page and analysts in the business section crank out one prognosis after another, but no one ever analyzes their record of success or failure in order to determine whether they are worth paying attention to. (I'm looking at you, Thomas Friedman.)


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Gary McCoy Dave Whamond Chris Britt Randy Enos Bill Bramhall Mike Peters