Expatria · Istanbul · Politics

I am Lester Burnham

The blow-out with Pregnant Boss, the subject of the last few blogs and my recent copy editing exile status, was caused by my pointing out to her the extreme double standard that the Turkish Daily News works under. Certain people, for a variety of reasons, do not get edited. Even if their article is an awkward translation or just plain bad English, it don’t matter, their work just gets put straight to press. I edited an Untouchable which, according to her, would have been the downfall of the newspaper and the world as we know it had it gone to press after my edit. Then, she freaked out when I said that my confusion was understandable because each day a new Untouchable is added to the list. Fine if there are Untouchables, I said, but you need to tell me who they are ahead of time so I know. She got very heated up and asked if I was suggesting that everyone be treated the same. I replied, yes indeed everyone should be treated the same, of course! But if there are Untouchables, make them known to everyone.

The next day, when Day 1 of my exile began, I went to speak with the Editor-in-Chief, the Big Boss of our newspaper and I mentioned the double standard I had been noticing. He is not the easiest person to talk to and I wasn’t actually sure if he even listened to me at all.

While I only got a few words in edgewise, apparently they were powerful and well placed because the day after my meeting with him (Exile Day 2), a memo was sent to the entire office saying that every article that comes through the TDN will be edited with the exactly the same care and attention. There are no exceptions, there are no untouchables.

I was overwhelmed with joy that the Big Boss actually listened to me! So proud! So empowered! I was overjoyed with the gleeful exclamations that travelled around the office as people read the memo and the palpable happiness of my colleagues that finally we are all able to edit all articles without distinction. The unwritten Untouchable list was, in one fell swoop, abolished.

But, get this. Pregnant Boss is so petty and so full of the resentment blooming along with her baby that while she told the Ankara office that it was my conversation with David that sparked the change that has been requested by many for years, when she handed out the memo to our Istanbul office she made a calculated move to omit the information in the memo that noted how my meeting was the catalyst for the change that will indeed knock up the level of the newspaper several key degrees.

Getting credit or not doesn’t change the supremely awesome fact that after a mere 3 weeks at the TDN I managed to enact a small revolution at the paper. I changed something that everyone assumed was set in stone and had been for years, much to the detriment of the paper as a whole.

As Lester Burnham in American Beauty so eloquently put it: I RULE!