The word is douche bag. Douche space bag. People will insist that it’s one closed-up word — douchebag — but they are wrong. When you cite the dictionary as proof of the division, they will tell you that the entry refers to a product women use to clean themselves and not the guy who thinks it’s impressive to drop $300 on a bottle of vodka. You will calmly point out that, actually, the definition in Merriam-Webster is “an unattractive or offensive person” and not a reference to Summer’s Eve. They will then choose to ignore you and write it as one word anyway.
This is the start of Lori Fradkin’s post on what it’s really like to be a copy editor over at The Awl (or “the Awl” or “Awl”?). And then later:
I feared my ability to do critical thinking was fading, so I got a job that required me to brainstorm ideas and figure out which stories to run rather than just clean things up in the end. I swore I wouldn’t let errors slip by if I saw them, but I also wanted to move on from my former role. That this plan failed is evidenced by the fact that my team now refers to a particular headline structure as the Lori Rule, as in “I think that breaks the Lori Rule…” They also IM me to ask how to spell things, even though all I’m going to do is look them up in the online dictionary. Of course, when a co-worker recently wrote me to say she had a copy question, I hastily responded with, “That’s what I’m hear for.” Sigh.
As a former copy editor, I’ve watched my grammar-to-writing ratio shift. The more I write, the less attention I pay to copy editing, evidenced by the fact (evidence of the fact?) that I had to instant message a friend recently to inquire: “is it ‘Applause for who?’ or ‘Applause for whom?’” After a few minutes, he typed slowly, “YOU’RE asking ME?”