Title Editing. Or, Does Roundup Kill a Burning Bush?

Gorse ablaze by ronstrathdee, on Flickr

This is part of a series on my work as a title editor for Demand Studios. As I mentioned last time, I’ve developed a collection of rather absurd or unexpected google searches — anything that’s caught my fancy. Some are discussed below. 

So… one of the largest categories of titles seem to be those perennial questions that we all encounter in our life, and that only Google has the answer for. I really appreciate these types of questions, especially since I tried giving up “the internet” for Lent in a short-lived burst of holiness back in college. Not having quick answers for every question, concern, or potential purchase was the most stressful part of my entire Lenten season, and Jesus definitely was not helpful here.

For instance, when I sent up a little mental text to ask Him,
What ingredients are needed 4 Ramen Surprise? …or
Where can i find teh SparkNotes for Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield? …or
Does a guy following me from the dorm to the library to the cafeteria to the dorm to talk about his love of Pokemon count as nerdy… affectionate… or creepy?

Well, Jesus didn’t seem to think these were key questions, and he certainly didn’t get back to me in only 1.45 seconds. I missed my Google. Lent was nice, but I went right back to my all-knowing pagan oracle after Easter.

Those perennial questions: Are Hiccups a Symptom of Pregnancy? Can Roundup Kill a Burning Bush?
So this time without access to the Google led me to appreciate it more, and yes, I have typed in things like “the meaning of life,” just to see what it could tell me. Others do too, it seems. Below are some of the new questions I’ve been led to ponder as the result of my title editing:

Are Hiccups a Symptom of Pregnancy?
Why Do Living Things Need Air, Food & Water?
Why Did the British People Wear Wigs?
Does the Silent Generation Like Dogs?
Do Greeks Speak English?
Why Are Sombreros So Ornate & Colorful?
Do White Candles Burn Faster Than Colored Ones?
How Many Mg of Nicotine are in One Cigarette?
Can Uggs Be Worn in the Rain?
Does Roundup Kill a Burning Bush?

Actually, this last set of search terms strikes me as a revelation. I never liked the story of Moses and Miriam when I was young, reading it as a clever woman with a lot of desire for leadership and recognition, who’s told to sit down, shut up, and stop questioning her little brother — the same one that she saved (with a little prompting from God, of course) from being killed as an infant.

But now, I’m understanding why God chose Moses over Miriam to lead his children out of Egypt. Miriam was clearly the competent one in the family, able to foil babykillers, talk her way around government functionaries, and make waterproof baskets to hold small children in, all before she hit puberty. So I imagine that later in life, she’s walking around one day when she sees a bush burning out of the corner of her eye. She grabs the fire extenguisher and a little round-up, and the fire’s out, the weeds are gone, no babies or goats are hurt in the process, and the tabbouleh comes out perfectly baked in time for dinner.

So this has me thinking that God, who really wanted someone who appreciated mystery, and could give a little more attention and respect, tries again. He goes out to the wilderness where Moses, who couldn’t talk his way out of anything and so is now in exile, is wandering around with his sheep. “Um, hi?” Moses says. “God, is that you?” He takes off his shoes to come closer, and God gives him a vision, etc. (I should probably Google it to add to this post.) The point being, Miriam is passed over and Moses leads the people of Israel instead.

I think it’s clear that the object lessons from this line of work are that:

1) Yes, Roundup kills burning bushes.
2) I need to be less competent in my life, and great spiritual things will befall me.
3) Google can definitely help me out with that!

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