I have a problem, but of interest only to an obsessive-compulsive editor like me. My Newsstand column today has two versions; both are essentially the same, except for one line, the concluding sentence in the final section on the irrepressible Rene Saguisag. The different conclusions mean much the same thing, but they are different, expressly so, and the difference was deliberate.
As the three indefatigably cheerful editorial assistants in the Opinion section can attest, I am a troublesome, persnickety columnist. (Not to be confused, of course, with a good one.) I impose on their good nature by inserting (if I’m in the newsroom) or calling in (if I’m not) last-minute corrections or last-stand improvements; yesterday was no exception.
As soon as I finished the piece, at around 5 pm, I left for my next appointment. On the road, however, the pensiveness that steals on commuters and drivers alike came over me, and suggested new endings to a problematic last paragraph. I pulled over, sent a text message, even called the office. Ten minutes later, I called again, with what to my harried mind seemed like a refinement. Finally, five minutes or so before reaching my destination, I pulled over again, composed a new message, pestered the editorial assistants again.
They took all my last-minute changes in stride, updating the column each time. And we even made the deadline.
Unfortunately, the second-to-the-last version was the one that made it to print. To make matters even more confusing (at least to me, very early this morning), the final version was the one that made it online.
The question for a philosopher manque like me: Which is the “real” version?