Defining Trade Terms
I just read the piece titled: “It is now too risky to ‘Put Your Magazine To Bed.'” (See page 9, September 1 issue.)
Here are my thoughts on the subject:
Although I agree with the gist of the piece on being cautious about opening one’s self up to a sexual harassment charge, I doubt that the phrase “Putting the magazine (or book) to bed” is really actionable.
Mulvey must be overly cautious to outlaw a trade phrase that has been used in the publishing business for over half a century. I think that is the key: It is a publishing trade term. It describes the art and practice of putting all the final touches on the artwork/computer files before shipping the publication to the pre-press house or printer; and it has been used because editorial and production people generally take as much care in finishing up their publication as a mother or father takes when tucking in a baby or small child. In every sense, a magazine is the staffs “baby.”
This phrase, therefore, has never been imbued with any sexual connotation, and even in the litigious ’90s I’m willing to bet it is still safe to use.
As for viewing the Victoria’s Secret catalog online (or in print) while at work, I can certainly see that it might be actionable. Even if it isn’t, I would consider it a severe waste of company time, so that employee would be called to task on two counts.
Well, I’d write more, but I’ve got to put my magazine to bed!
Peter D. du Pre
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