The Post That Changed The World

April 7th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Our personal nails-on-chalkboard phrase is “the first time since…”; it is almost inevitable that this phrase will be used in a sentence like this:

This is the first time we’ve celebrated Wednesday since last week.

In our never humble view, the only appropriate use of this construction when the event is truly extraordinary:

This is the first time dinosaurs have been spotted walking the canyons of North America since the last Ice Age.

We live in a era where everything must be an event. Or maybe it truly is that publishers suffer a lack of confidence. Hard to tell. It would explain how so many things have affected the course of history, yet things pretty much feel ordinary.

It didn’t take long for “the subtitle that changed the world” to take root. Going back to 1961, we find an author named Ronald Clark writing a perfectly respectable book about the development of the atomic bomb subtitled “the weapon that changed the world”.

But a year later, the rot had set in, and someone called Bertha Dodge had written a book called Plants That Changed the World. Now almost anything can have claimed to have changed the world, at least in the publishers’ catalogues.

As this is the second article we’ve seen in the past year making fun of the world-changing aspects of subtitles, we strongly suggest that publishers find a new catch phrase. It is not fun to be an object of ridicule. Take our word for it.

File Under: Publishers and Editors