Thursday, October 26, 2006

A few small musings

  • I've always wondered why serious writers shy away from writing about sex, as a rule. I know there are exceptions, but one just doesn't see much of it. It seems to me, and to Emily Maguire, that such an important part of our lives shouldn't be neglected in literature.
  • And John Humphrys argues that proper grammar and punctuation should be preserved in the interests of communication and clarity:

Language is more than a tool for expressing ourselves. It acts as a mirror to our world, reflecting back to us the way we live. It reflects our attitudes about the way we see things and how we are seen by others: in public life; in politics and commerce; in advertising and marketing; in broadcasting and journalism. Yet the prevailing wisdom about language seems to be that "anything goes".

Word by word, we are at risk of dragging our language down to the lowest common denominator and we do so at the cost of its most precious qualities: subtlety and precision. If we're happy to let our common public language be used in this way, communication will be reduced to a narrow range of basic meanings.

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