Simon concludes that of course, bad writing still abounds. The Onion magazine loves parodying newspaper prose, as in this fake news story naming North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-eun as the sexiest man alive: “With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true.” And old-fashioned overwriting survives too, as in this recent newspaper column about insomnia: “Those liminal hours between dark and dawn continue to haunt my praxis even now that my nest is empty.”
" ... But mostly, social media have done wonders for writing. George Orwell in 1944 lamented the divide between wordy, stilted written English, and much livelier speech. “Spoken English is full of slang,” he wrote, “it is abbreviated wherever possible, and people of all social classes treat its grammar and syntax in a slovenly way.” His ideal was writing that sounded like speech. We’re getting there at last."
I propose some toast: to Sydney Grew, The Third and all of you! Three cheers from kleines c and the gang (breakfast coffee)!
. . . His ideal was writing that sounded like speech. We’re getting there at last.
Was that conclusion really Orwell's? or just Mr. Kuper's who knows no better? Wordy and stilted are good in my book. Surely more art in life must be a good thing. We suspect some arrière-pensée whenever people recommend the plain and simple. In truth the plainest and simplest way must be not to simplify at all but to face head-on the full facts and all the implications.
Good morning to you all! If I may address your question directly, Gerard:
" ... Was that conclusion really Orwell's? or just Mr. Kuper's who knows no better?"
It was Simon Kuper's conclusion. Good writing is certainly a matter of taste, Gerard! In terms of novelists, for example, I like Charles Dickens, but I tend to think that the Victorians went on a bit. I prefer Jane Austen!
Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure, Gerard; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.
As for writing, the explosion of social media at the beginning of the twenty-first allows everyone to publish themselves on the world wide web. You can even analyse the writing style of kleines c.