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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

(Letters – from victory to victory) Proofreading factory of Tanja Fajon

By: Vinko Vasle

The intellectual breadth of the Social Democrats – in addition to Matjaž Nemec – is also represented by the newly established international proofreading network, which offers a range of services. Their lectorate is historically grounded, so let’s go back a bit.

Already during the Second World War, the Communist fraction of proof-readers had at their disposal several proofread documents about those who supposedly represented the enemies of the people and possible collaborators. Therefore, the word “possible” disappeared from the documents, so that the revolution could continue to work, and even the designation that someone could represent enemies took on an assertive form. At the time, in Slovenia, this work was performed by Edvard Kardelj, a high school graduate, and Boris Kidrič, an uneducated worker, a non-professional proof-reader. Since the lists were sometimes incomplete, they supplemented them to the best of their ability so that the striking trios could also liquidate them on the basis of proofread lists. Lidija Šentjurc also proved to be a proof-reader, namely, she proofread some party orders into death sentences if they were not revolutionary enough.

After the liberation, new texts were written and proofread at various levels. The reports had to be concretised, and at that time the most important thing was where the commas were. For example, Ivan Maček Matija, a carpenter, moved twigs here and there for the needs of the revolution. If it was written that someone should be acquitted, not murdered, he moved the comma because it required the time of reconstruction of the homeland, industrialisation and electrification, and it was morally justified. Therefore, later generations suffered in the subject of Slovene language and stylistics, managed by Breda Pogorelec, as it mainly tormented us with the revolutionary tradition of the role and meaning of commas. If a court acquitted someone in those days, despite the fact that they were ruled by road workers, butchers and tailors, the party headquarters corrected such judgments, which were not public, accordingly. Since then, the proud successors of the Communists have taken the term “proofreading” in its original historical version. Proofreading does not only mean dealing with commas, in Slovene with the dual and the genitive, but it also means textual reproduction. Which further means that proofreading is also the dissemination of some document-text, the insertion of semantic additions, which change the original text accordingly due to the requirements of time and virus. In communism, this is commonly called fabrication, erasure, deletion, insertion, gluing, and in modern times, Fajon’s proofreading.

Proofreading skills in communism

Proofreading skills are best demonstrated in communist historiography, where there is no room for what really happened, but there is room for all that that has not happened. Let’s say the Battle of the Neretva, Dražgoše and the Breakthrough on Menina planina. In this sense, communist history is a proofreading of facts, because no winner can allow any truths to tarnish the excellence of the national liberation movement and the purity of the Communist Party and Comrade Tito. Recently, biography of Milan Kučan is the best proofread authorised biography, which was generally proofread by the historian Božo Repe, and Kučan in particular dealt with commas and semicolons in more detail. Therefore, the character and work of the first president and the last head of the Udba and the party remained unsullied. Last time, the Diklič-Hribar couple announced the latest dictionary of Slovene history, the Slovene schism and reconciliation from A to Z, in which they crossed out their original thoughts and rehabilitated the so-called communist murderers, whose work in Kočevski Rog was not bloody at all, because they only threw into the caves those who were brought there by the Slovene Catholic Church.

However, Tanja Fajon’s proofreading factory also has the latest international version, which was created because of a more effective attack on the dictatorship in Slovenia, so her English naturalist proofread the report of Sofia, for which Fajon found not to be enough eloquent or sharp, and in addition to the commas, proper erasure, supplementation, correction, and all that Fajon had learned from the history of communist proofreading, were necessary.

Vinko Vasle is a long-time journalist, publicist, satirist and writer.


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