Archive for the ‘language’ Category

Newspaper Copy and the Death of Writing

January 29, 2007

There seems to be a lot of bland writing out there these days. Ok, I’ll call a spade a spade, it’s insipid. These words with no voice, no ideas, no sense of meter or beat; for someone who can appreciate the subtleties and fineries of the English language, it can be painful at times. It doesn’t have to be all Shakespeare, or glitz, but just well done and showing some effort went into those keystrokes.

It’s the newspapers that are to blame. Cost cutting has meant the closing down of foreign bureaus, shedding writers with great expertise, rushing stuff into print before giving it a thorough edit. Many papers these days are no more than shells for AP, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse (AFP). And throw in syndicated material from the world-reknowed papers (Guardian, Wall Street Journal), and the second tier newspapers are virtually one man operations; just printing machines for advertising.

This straight up, nothing but the facts approach is deadly. Ideas are what spark the mind, ideas are what can trigger a reaction. Presenting ‘data’ is not writing.

Or to put it another way, there is nothing that says style cannot be married with substance. You don’t have to choose just one, you can go with both. In fact, the style can often reinforce the message, make it more effective. Make it more readable.

There ain’t nothing wrong with style. All the best writers now and then have always had a distinctive voice. It’s humanity and it’s humane.

Down with machine language!

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Words and Thinking

January 7, 2007

For all our love of images, tv, youtube, and ipod, it’s the written word we still come back to. Yes, that’s right, you are reading this blog right now, even though there’s music in the background, and you have a cool piece of wallpaper as backdrop.

The reason why words and books have been so supreme is they are the tools of thought. Pictures can communicate, and do so instantly, but to reason, and analyse, convince, we draw upon words and language.

Our brains thrive on words, and clever, witty speech. Some of us would even own up to liking poetry, and songs would be nothing without powerful lyrics. It’s time we stopped dissing the all-knowing word, and acknowledge the inner blogger inside each of us.

Comments please!