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post #61 of 216
Originally Posted by thewho13 View Post

"English" major, really. But Lit Crit (psychoanalysis, queer theory, crt, ethics, etc.) is my bread and butter—or, as of the past year, that's where all of my energy has been directed. How could you tell? tounge.gif
Edit: @urthwhyte, If you're interested in making a point, go for it in an actual response man. You kind of just sound like another fool with an aversion to "overwrought sentences," which is basically code for "I don't like long sentences with any sense of style, especially if they use big words." Deal with it.




...This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less ofwords chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house. I list below, with notes and examples, various of the tricks by means of which the work of prose-construction is habitually dodged.

DYING METAPHORS. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically ‘dead’ (e. g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles’ heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a ‘rift’, for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.

OPERATORS OR VERBAL FALSE LIMBS. These save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry. Characteristic phrases are render inoperative, militate against, make contact with, be subjected to, give rise to, give grounds for, have the effect of, play a leading part (role) in, make itself felt, take effect, exhibit a tendency to, serve the purpose of, etc., etc. The keynote is the elimination of simple verbs. Instead of being a single word, such as break, stop, spoil, mend, kill, a verb becomes a phrase, made up of a noun or adjective tacked on to some general-purpose verb such as prove, serve, form, play, render. In addition, the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining). The range of verbs is further cut down by means of the -ize and de- formations, and the banal statements are given an appearance of profundity by means of the not un- formation. Simple conjunctions and prepositions are replaced by such phrases as with respect to, having regard to, the fact that, by dint of, in view of, in the interests of, on the hypothesis that; and the ends of sentences are saved by anticlimax by such resounding commonplaces as greatly to be desired, cannot be left out of account, a development to be expected in the near future, deserving of serious consideration, brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and so on and so forth.

PRETENTIOUS DICTION. Words like phenomenon, element, individual (as noun), objective, categorical, effective, virtual, basic, primary, promote, constitute, exhibit, exploit, utilize, eliminate, liquidate, are used to dress up a simple statement and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgements. Adjectives like epoch-making, epic, historic, unforgettable, triumphant, age-old, inevitable, inexorable, veritable, are used to dignify the sordid process of international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually takes on an archaic colour, its characteristic words being: realm, throne, chariot, mailed fist, trident, sword, shield, buckler, banner, jackboot, clarion.Foreign words and expressions such as cul de sac, ancien regime, deus ex machina, mutatis mutandis, status quo, gleichschaltung, weltanschauung, are used to give an air of culture and elegance. Except for the useful abbreviations i. e., e. g. and etc., there is no real need for any of the hundreds of foreign phrases now current in the English language.Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones, and unnecessary words like expedite, ameliorate, predict, extraneous, deracinated, clandestine, subaqueous, and hundreds of others constantly gain ground from their Anglo-Saxon numbers(1). The jargon peculiar to Marxist writing (hyena, hangman, cannibal, petty bourgeois, these gentry, lackey, flunkey, mad dog, White Guard, etc.) consists largely of words translated from Russian, German, or French; but the normal way of coining a new word is to use Latin or Greek root with the appropriate affix and, where necessary, the size formation. It is often easier to make up words of this kind (deregionalize, impermissible, extramarital, non-fragmentary and so forth) than to think up the English words that will cover one's meaning. The result, in general, is an increase in slovenliness and vagueness.

MEANINGLESS WORDS. In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning(2). Words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality, as used in art criticism, are strictly meaningless, in the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly ever expected to do so by the reader. When one critic writes, ‘The outstanding feature of Mr. X's work is its living quality’, while another writes, ‘The immediately striking thing about Mr. X's work is its peculiar deadness’, the reader accepts this as a simple difference opinion. If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way. Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’. The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements likeMarshal Petain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.


None other than the illustrious George Orwell.  Academic jargon is terrible enough when confined to its own little contextual cesspool; using it outside of that is just bad writing.

post #62 of 216
Thread Starter 
MS007 I'm going to assume your heart is in the right place, just chill the fuck out and watch the thread for a while. Or go post in the old thread, there's no reason you should take this as its replacement if you don't like it.










post #63 of 216
KJ, I'm glad you can copy and paste George Orwell's thoughts in order to articulate your so-well-founded dislike of discursive writing. It's really impressive how capably you're able to criticize, with substance, the language that is so obviously, so needlessly, "heightened."

Edit: whoa, 500 posts. Cool.

Rant (Click to show)
One last thought: it's incredibly ironic that, in a thread about what might be slotted as "alternative" style, people are taking issue with a certain style of writing. And they point to "a lack of substance" as a cover for what is basically an aversion to (a particular) style (of writing). Call it a crutch, call it foggy, call it what you will—that doesn't make it so, and such "criticism" fails to speak, with even the slightest of intelligence, to any specific concern. What I've written about has a clear, concrete aim; this is undeniable. And was my writing understandable? Clearly so. Was it wordy? Yes. Is it pleasing to write like that? For me, yes; but clearly not for everyone. Is it pleasing to read? Again, not for everyone. Until someone simply says "I don't understand this," then I fail to see any glaring issue. (Failure to understand hardly strikes me as a terribly big concern; nothing I've ever written here could be considered incomprehensible.) So what, it could have been written with less words? So the fuck what? If you don't want to bother reading something, then don't read it. Simply pointing to writing that uses ostensibly big words, or lots of semicolons (if you think you've seen a lot of semicolons—and, moreover, if you think you've seen a lot of m-dashes—then go read some Melville), and then calling it "overwrought," or "lacking substance" is like listening to the idiots who complain about e.g. Yohji, Damir, Rick, Raf, Kiryuyrik, Comme, Geller (to a lesser extent), and etc. being "too affected," or "overly stylistic." I don't mean to invite a comparison of the *quality* between writing style and the aforementioned designers and the way their aesthetic manifests in consumers' style; but the moment you extend your distaste to "academic" (what a false—and essentialist—categorical disavowal) writing, you forget the very fact that "style" means more than just how you put some fucking cotton/wool/whateverthefuck on your Aryan skin.

Edited by thewho13 - 8/17/12 at 9:27pm
post #64 of 216
Who, I don't think your writing is bad, but I do think you could tone it down a bit lest you be misunderstood to be intentionally confusing your audience. I was able to read it, but it was pretty heavy. Maybe I'm just an idiot.
post #65 of 216
Originally Posted by thewho13 View Post

KJ, I'm glad you can copy and paste George Orwell's thoughts in order to articulate your so-well-founded dislike of discursive writing. It's really impressive how capably you're able to criticize, with substance, the language that is so obviously, so needlessly, "heightened."

Your use of vocabulary takes a poor consideration of your audience/setting. If this were a formal discussion about serious issues it would make sense - but that's hardly the case. This is (obviously) a very casual setting, to discuss a non-essential hobby...and not solely a community of intellectuals. Your word choice singles you out and it can make people feel like you're giving off a sense of self-importance.
post #66 of 216
why did i think thewho was french, making this his second language ?

anyway, down with anti-intellectualism, embrace the elitism ! long live thewho !!
post #67 of 216
Originally Posted by brad-t View Post

None of us are saying that this is the kind of clothing we expect women to wear. This is a thread for sharing women's fashion, whereas the previous thread was turning into a DT wankfest.

This. (especially the bolded part)
MS007- How do you not understand the difference between expecting someone to wear a certain style and liking when they wear it? No one is demanding that women dress in a particular style or trying to say what is or is not acceptable to wear - just expressing what we like.
post #68 of 216
Can we talk about the clothes or the styling instead (if we need to talk that is...) ? If we start orgasming about volume plays and fabrics interactions, people will get the message.

Also, less pics per post plz. It's crashing my stupid connection but more importantly it doesn't do justice to the pictures, seeing walls upon walls of all black outfits or whatever just makes me lose any interest (like most visual blogs). You need to let that shit breathe. Or do the asshole thing like me, multipost.
post #69 of 216
Originally Posted by thewho13 View Post

KJ, I'm glad you can copy and paste George Orwell's thoughts in order to articulate your so-well-founded dislike of discursive writing. It's really impressive how capably you're able to criticize, with substance, the language that is so obviously, so needlessly, "heightened."


Don't take that as a personal attack, it wasn't meant as one.  I pasted the Orwell essay because, really, I think it's something everyone who wants to communicate effectively should read.  

post #70 of 216
Can you please discuss thewhos ability to write good posts somewhere else? Its off-topic.

Originally Posted by Meis View Post

Originally Posted by brad 
None of us are saying that this is the kind of clothing we expect women to wear. ...
This. (especially the bolded part)
MS007- How do you not understand the difference between expecting someone to wear a certain style and liking when they wear it? No one is demanding that women dress in a particular style or trying to say what is or is not acceptable to wear - just expressing what we like.

I don't want to be captious, but I didn't say that either. Meis, have you followed the history of this thread?
People were shitting at posts in the WAYWGTW thread, because it transformed "into a DT wankfest", or more diplomatically because what other people liked at the fits was supposedly the girl, not the clothes. Now, I think we agree that the styles posted in this thread will also not look good on anyone, because this depends on bodytype and personality. However, because it is not mainstream (even though the jcrew lookbook pics I posted fit in nicely) or not figure-accentuating enough or whatever criteria has to be met that people in this thread like it, it is fine. If only swimwear would have been posted, these same guys would be the first to protest. Double standards at its finest, because their preferences are ok to be liked on a girl, others are not.

Moreover is the thread title unfortunatly chosen, because it implies that with the way girls dress they transport a message, which should be up to them, shouldn't it?
post #71 of 216
Where's the picture of the Asian girl in the cardboard 5-zip?
post #72 of 216
if you take this thread title seriously i'm not even close to interested in engaging a discussion with you

for something a bit different

post #73 of 216
This thread is dope, good work team, you kick ass AFL.

Let's all talk about motherfucking prose style forever (Click to show)
TheWho - as someone who's read and processed his fair share of the exact sort of criticism you're writing, it's a crutch dogg. The terms you use for the things you're talking about - this isn't analytic philosophy where the nature of the discussion involves a highly jargonized vocabulary, this is just talking about the way fashion fucks with everybody who wants to participate in it. You don't need to use a foggy phrase like "negotiate their assets" to get that across, it might actually help you clarify your own feelings if you rephrase it as though you were talking to someone outside your extremely involuted major.
post #74 of 216

I don´t get the complaints re thewho´s writing style. I´m not an native speaker and have no problem with it.

post #75 of 216

& now
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