Re: Emperor's new Prose (fwd)

douglass st.christian (stchri@MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA)
Sat, 2 Apr 1994 09:37:12 -0500

This message went privately to James Carrier when it was meant for the
list. Public apologies to you, James, for not paying attention to the
addresssing lines when this *%&^$$ machine goes into reply mode.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

reducing french academic prose style to nothing more than a
pseudo-freudian stand up bit about 'my peepee is bigger than yer peepee'
strikes this reader/writer, for whom clarity is an up hill climb but
usually worth the sweat, as so much jejeune twaddle, folks...

this whole 'clarify, my good man, clarify' thingie [(c) d.foss] seems at
best presumptuous and just a tad lazy and at worse, censorious...what,
just what, the man asks, is clarity? one person's clarity is another
person's confusion and invoking fowlers modern usage is invoking a form
of censorship perhaps more pernicious because it is done in the name of
style rather than content.

not to take away from Carrier's concerns about making the damned point
and getting on with it, the suggestion that some code of precision can be
brought to bear which, if only we all would follow it, would make
anthropology sore like eagles and sing like celestial quires, worries the
bejeebers out of me.

there is, between thought and grammar, more roads to expression than mr.
fowler can possibly approve of in his slender but always useful volume
[just where does that stray semi-colon go, anyway]. a call to homogenous
speach [a la elements of style] perhaps elides the possiblity that in
orderliness of style prohibits the disorderly potential for new ideas...

just a the meantime, i'll keep slogging away, doing my
reader's work since, after all, the writer has already done her or his bit...

douglass st.christian
anthropology - mcmaster u.
hamilton - canada
905 529 4992