Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Vigorous writing is concise."

Have you been dogged by the Style Police, those members of the literary intelligentsia posting contemptuous messages on blogs because they're no longer able to use their red pens?

They're just doing it for your own good, you should know. A Polish philosopher, Karol Libelt (1807-1875) was the first to detail how a mixture of messianism and intellectual elitism can produce change. He believed the Polish people would be able to redeem the history of the world with moral excellence gained through past oppression and heightened intellectual prowess. The intelligentsia, or inteligencja, were to lead the common people as a "guide for the reason of their higher enlightenment." The Soviets and Nazis killed off most of the Polish inteligencja during World War II.

Join the social experiment. Become a member of the literati. Volunteer for the grammar posse. Register--seven times if you can get away with it--as your blog's community activist. Together we can change. Yes, we can.

Find a style book. William E Strunk, Jr., convinced a pupil, E.B. White, to adopt The Elements of Style. Mr. White edited Strunk's 1918 original in 1959, and "Strunk & White" was born. Maybe you cursed it or similar guides such as the MLA Style Manual, the APA style guide, or Mayor Daley's favorite, The Chicago Manual of Style, in high school or college.

If someone says you've spelled "parallel" wrong, point out his or her unparalleled sentences. For one nasty note regarding a typo, raise the question of the critic's dangling gerund plus his overuse of passive voice. That will keep us busy until change comes, Spanish lessons start, and any uncooperative intelligentsias are guided to "higher enlightenment."

V.I. Lenin wrote to Maxim Gorky, Sept. 15, 1919, "No. It isn't a sin to jail such "men of talent" for short periods if that's what it takes to prevent plots (such as the one at Krasnaia Gorka) and the deaths of tens of thousands. We uncovered the conspiracies of the Kadets and quasi-Kadets. And we know that quasi-Kadet professors are giving assistance heart and soul to the conspirators. That is a fact.

The intellectual forces of the workers and peasants are growing and getting stronger in their fight to overthrow the bourgeoisie and their accomplices, the educated classes, the lackeys of capital, who consider themselves the brains of the nation. In fact they are not its brains but its shit."


Brigid said...

I once had a commenter belittle me because I used an it's instead of an its. She quite happily pointed out the grammatical error.

I went to her blog. It consisted of nothing but several short posts on the bowel movements of her kid.

I am not kidding.

I took the criticism a little less to heart after that.

Somerled said...

It's a common error, one I catch before hitting "enter" sometimes. This brain often betrays its owner, however. In my mind, that's more forgivable than something like this, "There opinion stinks! I'm not posting their any longer."

I worked for a man who delighted in paring "very" from copy. He would read it back and replace "very" with "damn." Learning from him was damn entertaining. Web started working in newspapers at the age of 10 after his father died. He's about your father's age, Brigid.