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Something about bad writing ….

April 23, 2010

Okay, okay, I know it involves politics, but who and what Solicitor General Elena Kagan actually does is beyond my purpose here.

Rather, grab your red pencil. No, don’t actually write on your monitor, but you know what I mean, right?

The Huffington Post explains:

In a post for CBS written by Ben Domenech, who is also editor of The New Ledger, Kagan is described as President Barack Obama’s most likely choice. She’s also described as potentially the “first openly gay justice.”

Domenech later added an addendum stating, “I have to correct my text here to say that Kagan is apparently still closeted—odd, because her female partner is rather well known in Harvard circles.”

Bob Englehart - Hartford Courant - April 13, 2010Anyone? Anyone?

I’m not surprised that the post is unsigned.

Anyway, I had a composition teacher in high school who forbade us the phrase, “due to”. I still have a hard time writing it. She wasn’t the worst, either. Apparently, my friend’s teacher would not let her students start two sentences in the same paper with the same word. Not consecutive. Throughout. I think it was her way of making sure nobody got the perfect mark for a paper.

The late Jack Cady once explained that he told his writing students at Pacific Lutheran University to ignore everything their writing teachers ever taught them. Yes, there’s a paradox in there, but, nothing can destroy a good young writer like an ambitious writing teacher. I had a band teacher once who pretty much did that for me and music. Not that I don’t like music. I do. Just, not performing it. Then again, I’m a coward, anyway, so we cannot actually convict the bald guy with the ugly mustache and the breath that reeked of coffee and menthol cigarettes. Nor can I say he was particularly ambitious. At least he didn’t seem that way. And in later years, a friend described him as a “bad” teacher, which made a certain amount of sense.

Oh, right. Where as I? Sorry.

Yeah, I don’t think you need to be a fascist composition teacher to forbid certain basic, obvious notions in writing. One should be able to show their own internal restraint. Speak nothing of the editing at Huffington Post.

I’m just sayin’ ….

Alright, so … as long as we’re at it, can we strike the word “robust”, unless we’re referring to a quality of food? And banish forever the use of “transition” as a verb? I’m pretty sure I’ve complained about it before, but everyone has certain peeves. I will not “transition” that box to the other office. I will transfer it. I will send it. I will even transport it if I must. But I will not “transition” the bleepin’, blankety-blank, (expletive) box!

Right. Sorry.

-bd

Cartoon by Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant, April 13, 2010.

(Are you afraid of bad writing? That is, are you afraid of your own … er … damn it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know where this goes. Newport Beach, September 26, SCWC LA 8 … all that. Register before June 1, and save $75 as we help you to suck less. Oh, God! Did I just …. Oh, no, not like that. I didn’t mean to imply you actually suck, or anything. Damn it. I’m sorry. Really. Please. I’m sorry. It’s … I don’t know, it’s just something about this thing MSG says from time to time. About sucking less. It’s supposed to be funny, I guess. I’m not sure; I don’t remember. I mean … yeah. Er … or maybe it’s Wes. Ffff— …. That’s what I get for ignoring them. How freakin’ embarrassing.)

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