I’d’ve let him go first if only I’d known

August 22, 2011

After all it’s easier to respond than to put forth.


I wrote a long, rambling post about e-readers, and how their effect won’t be to do with bullshit psychology but marketing, that like most of what I write irritated me the next day by seeming dishonest; the act of putting things into words somehow sundering the connection between what I feel and what is said. That’s writing for you, I guess, or at least not particularly good writing. I went to bed late and was knackered for work today for that shit! Not only that, but the next day I see an article, an entire speech no less, that goes into the marketing etc of writing in the future far better and in more detail.


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e-readers are literally KILLING books

August 21, 2011

This article by Sam Leith on e-readers and the book seems reasonable. It seems reasonable because that’s its tone – practical engagement rather than fanatical frothing of one extreme or another. I’m not actually sure it is particularly reasonable really, but in order to say why, I want to look at one sentence that particularly caught my eye:

Personally, I’m still in the habit of paperbacks.

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Leave it, Tom, she’s not worth it.

August 15, 2011

This is a really long, really boring post. That isn’t some kind of aporia, intended to seduce you into marvelling at the polished excellence of what follows. It’s just really long. There is a song about halfway through though.

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Argued where? Linked how? Extended when? Why won’t you ANSWER these questions?

August 13, 2011

“It will be argued here that there are merits in considering the Reformation not merely as a movement that extended forwards into the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but also as one umbilically linked with impulses rooted in the preceding period.”

The Reformation of the Landscape – Alexandra Walsham

I’m looking forward to reading this book, but this sort of academic writing makes me scream. I think some of he stuff that annoys me – the This Study Will stuff for instance – probably has good motivations to do with setting out your stall clearly. It doesn’t feel a particularly natural way to do it though and makes me cringe away from the page.

The adverbial stuff feels more pernicious though, trying to sneak in assumptions behind the verbs doing the logical work of the argument. At the very least they feel redundant. (A model is “firmly embraced” in the previous paragraph. A theoretical model that is, not a clothes one).

Not particularly pernicious tautologies like ‘extended forwards into the late 17th and 18th Centuries’ do something to undermine your trust in the writer, or at least create an unwelcome noise and a feeling that you are listening to the inherited cadences of academia rather than fresh thought. That may well not be true, and the substance of this particular book looks very interesting, but mental alertness is needed in order not to be lulled by the tones of its institutionalised writing styles.