This is the Message Centre for Dmitri Gheorgheni

Subbing "Cotton"

Post 1

Gnomon

Hi Dmitri.

I'm sub-editing "What Cotton Had to do with it" at A87786111.

1.

Your list of ways of getting clothing is divided up into Animal, Mineral and Vegetable (the traditional "Three Kingdoms"). But then you throw in silkworms in the vegetable section. I find this jarring - they're out of place. I've tried moving the silkworm sentence to the end of the animal section - it's like that at present - but this leaves the vegetable section looking rather weak and lacking a punchline. Any suggestions?

2.

"They picked tobacco worms in the hot sun" -- can you explain this? What have worms got to do with it? I though it was the leaves of the tobacco that were the crop. Are the worms an infestation that have to be picked off the leaves by hand? Or is it some technical term for the leaves? Certainly worth a footnote.

3.

Your du Pont/Nylon link to the Smithsonian doesn't appear to be working. Could you find another one?

4.

You describe Eli Whitney's story as an urban myth. Was it really urban? I thought everything was rural at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

G


Subbing "Cotton"

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni

Hi, Gnomon. smiley - smiley

1.
I only added those silkworms because somebody insisted. I didn't want to. smiley - winkeye I like where you put it.

How about:

'3. You can make cloth out of plant fibres, such as flax, grasses, bark, or cotton. Not only are your resources renewable, and don't fight back too much, but they provide scope for creativity in terms of design, dyeing, and decoration.'

2.
Aha. You've never been around tobacco. smiley - eureka

The neon-green tobacoo hornworm, Manduca sexta, is a pest that must be removed laboriously by hand from the growing tobacco. Among subsistence farmers who used tobacco as a cash crop in the 20th Century, this task was often given to children. One researcher has this story to share:
'When my dad and uncles were boys, they had to worm tobacco. At the same time, they were supposed to be watching my youngest uncle, Keith, who was just a toddler. Keith picked up one of the tobacco worms and started playing with it, as children will do. The bigger boys were going down the rows of tobacco, picking up the worms and popping off the heads, then tossing them away in one single-handed motion. When Ike, the second-eldest, passed his baby brother, he snatched up the worm Keith was playing with, killed it and tossed it, and moved on. Keith began crying, 'Ike killed my worm!' All five of the other boys began laughing, struck by the absurdity of life.'

If that's too long, just stop with 'must be removed laboriously by hand from the growing tobacco.' smiley - whistle

3,

Darn that Smithsonian - that link really doesn't work anymore. How about this one?

http://amhistory.si.edu/archives/d8007.htm


4.

You're right - people keep using 'urban myth' to mean 'fable', and I've fallen into that bad habit. It's not urban. How about just 'myth'?

Thanks for taking such care with this one, and being patient with it. I doubt you grow cotton in Ireland.



Subbing "Cotton"

Post 3

Gnomon

Great story about the worms, but I do think it is too long. There's an (unpublished?) guideline that the footnotes should not be longer than the entry.smiley - smiley

Here in Ireland we grow potatoes, carrots, cabbages and lots of other things, but nothing that requires too much heat, and everything has to be rain-resistant. In the sunny south-east (where our holiday mobile is) they grow strawberries. My wife's cousin tried to grow strawberries in the warm, wet southwest with little success.


Subbing "Cotton"

Post 4

Dmitri Gheorgheni

smiley - snork Hm, I think I want to challenge that unspoken guideline...that is WAY too tempting an idea, my friend...smiley - evilgrin

However, you are quite right to shorten that footnote. I just remembered that story my uncles told me. smiley - laugh

I can see that tobacco and cotton would not be your thing. When we moved to the hills around Pittsburgh, my dad tried sadly to grow okra. Alas, it was not to be.

Strawberries do well just about everywhere here - I remember picking them with my dad in Upstate New York, although a few months later than we would have in Mississippi or Tennessee.


Subbing "Cotton"

Post 5

Gnomon

Strawberries are an early fruit - they're edible from June onwards. Most fruits are much later - mid August to September.


Subbing "Cotton"

Post 6

Dmitri Gheorgheni

smiley - ok In Tennessee, you can get them in late May. But in New York, I think it was late August or early September.


Subbing "Cotton"

Post 7

Gnomon

Thanks Dmitri. I'm changing neon-green to vivid green. Neon is actually only responsible for the red colour in neon lights. The other colours are made by other gases. It's not a big deal, but I want to remove anything that suggests misleading information.

I've also added that the hornworm is a caterpillar.

I've only two problems with the entry now.

1. I'm not happy with the link to the graph on cotton exports. External links are supposed to be to reputable sites. That one is just to an isolated pages somewhere on the web. It could have been put there by anybody! And since there is nothing on that page to link it to a website, it gives the impression we're stealing the page to use in our site. I'd prefer to have the information presented on a reputable site.

2. I'm still thinking about a title for this entry. The existing title is amusing and intriguing, but we do need to consider searching. (I know that Lanzababy used to spend a lot of her time studying the statistics on what people were searching for, as this tells us what sort of entries we should be writing).


Subbing "Cotton"

Post 8

Dmitri Gheorgheni

'Vivid green' is fine.

1. The site was reputable - in fact, I think we used it for an educational program - but typical teacher stuff, just pages you could use.

I can't find another with a good graph, just too much information. Leave it out. They'll have to take my word for it.

2. Ah, good point, the title. How about 'King Cotton: Agriculture, Commerce, and Slavery'?


Subbing "Cotton"

Post 9

Gnomon

OK. It's ready to go now. Do you want to read through it and check you're happy before I hit the button?


Subbing "Cotton"

Post 10

Dmitri Gheorgheni

smiley - ok It looks fine, thanks.

I notice that you footnoted 'molasses', which would never have occurred to me. I didn't know that was what treacle was - I thought treacle was dark syrup. Shows what I know. smiley - laugh Thanks again.


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