Friday, March 25, 2005

LRC picks
RIP George Kennan

Joe Sobran on the state of the English language

Or what I see my job as a newspaper sub-editor as being all about

Shakespeare uses the English language with great subtlety, but also with idiomatic ease. He’s never haunted by rules. In some respects the English of his day was more emphatic than ours. I like him not, where the crucial adverb is climactic, has more power than the modern I do not like him, where the adverb gets buried in the middle of the sentence. Why have English-speakers abandoned this fine old form? Well, these things happen.
It made a kind of comeback in the early 1990s: Statement, pause — ‘not!

We should be annoyed by superfluous words, especially those meant to sound “official” — a real vice of our times. Many people now say “prior to” when “before” will do. The same sort of people say “despite the fact that” rather than “although.”
Paul Fussell noticed it over 20 years ago. What I live for at work is making sure such never appears in print. Every day I thank God I don’t work someplace where I’m forced to write and even talk that way.

An argument for privatizing marriage
Tying into the Schiavo case:

One of the most interesting aspects of the case is how liberals have been correctly accusing the right of hypocrisy on issues of federalism, and how conservatives have responded with their own correct accusations of leftist hypocrisy. As in most political scandals, both sides are right about one thing: that the other side is inconsistent.

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