You Got Style
· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
April 28, 2003
· Mudflats, Cruise Ships, and Casinos: Where the Wild Thing$ Are ·
Our Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that annual wildlife viewing generates $918 million, beating fishing by $64 million and hunting by $568 million. Although cash flows are often as skittish as passing birds, we Washingtonians like what we can get by way of pecuniary predation. We are like local mudflat raptors hereabouts — eyes fixed keenly on the muddy prize.
My raptor-expert friend Dan got a flock of 25 birders Saturday, for instance, to attend his PowerPoint lecture on Peregine Falcons. At $10 a head, Dan's monies have added to monies raised by others to help the state's principal Shorebird Festival. Even some eco-skeptics are impressed.
Since 1994, with a team of volunteers, Dan has banded 73 Peregrines. From a total of 427 field investigations, his discoveries have been truly helpful — particularly in fixing knowledge of migrants and residents. His statistics indicate emergent patterns: in summer migrant Peregrines apparently follow their prey northward. So, I might add, do passing Norwegian cruise ships.
But what, then, of our residents? Dan reports that 4/D (a Peregrine accounting for a full third of annual resightings) is seen mostly hanging out near our newest Indian Casino. It seems she's found something truly lucrative.
We naturally call her "Casino Girl."Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
April 22, 2003
· Simeon Strunsky "Edits" Lincoln ·
To be a model, a classic, means to be "edited," Strunsky claims, "with twenty pages of introduction and" — you'll like this part — "I don't know how many foot-notes." As I've already counted two footnotes here, the chance to lighten that task is especially appealing. So with Willard Espy's help, from An Almanac of Words at Play, I offer you Strunsky's helpful "foot-noting" of Lincoln. "He speculates," Espy writes, "that somewhere in the high schools or the colleges this is what the young soul finds in the Gettysburg Address":
Perhaps you may recall that Strunsky's most famous remark is: "Famous remarks are very seldom quoted correctly." Maybe that's why in one of his essays, "Nocturne," one soul reflects — stylistically and substantively — on the old difference between literature and life, between "newspapers" and "Night Court." Could Strunsky really be saying, "Bring Back Recitation"?1
1It's an equally open question, of course, whether Jacques Derrida — the oh-so-quotable Deconstructor — should be called in to testify.Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
April 18, 2003
· Head, Hands, and Heart: Lincoln the Writer ·
I am not trying to make Lincoln Christ-like here, but only noting, in marking the memory of his stylistic achievement, the coincidence of his assassination. I first thought of this while singing the old refrain last night — "Let my people go" — to "Go Down, Moses." Indeed, I think that as Lincoln was penning McIntosh's case, he was grasping therein the cases of others he would later emancipate. It was a matter not only of style but of substance: a point grasped, in 1863 — clearly, forcefully, and eloquently — even in the midst of Civil War. It was, historically, an application of head, hands, and heart to his best work.Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
April 15, 2003
· An English Style, Familiar But Not Coarse ·
Though Johnson's is hardly Addison's style, it marks the clear shape of the man's happy achievement. Together with Richard Steele, Addison of course virtually invented the daily journal essay. His Tatler and Spectator essays from 1709 to 1712 led readers through London coffee houses with "Starbuckian Wit" — to city wags, wits, and Whigs of interest. I've particular fondness for one Tatler piece, #158. Bookish Tom Folio therein abuses "those who talk of the fineness of style, and the justness of thought, or describe the brightness of any particular passages; nay, though they write themselves in the genius and spirit of the author they admire, Tom looks upon them as men of superficial learning, and flashy parts." There's nothing like getting to the nub of things fast.
To read Addison's Tatler-Spectator essays, you can find complete sets at The Spectator Project. Tatler requires the DjVu download, but you will be up and running soon. Check out #155 (v. 3, p. 221) for an early version of InstaPundit. Addison's Upholsterer always prompts a laugh.Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
April 9, 2003
· Here, Here: Where Have You Been? ·
Beyond subterranean rides on the subway, my added adventures included Mark Adamo's Little Women at the New York City Opera, Richard Greenberg's Take Me Out at the Walter Kerr Theater, and Boris Eifman's Who's Who ballet at the City Center Theater. I also ventured north to the Natural History and Metropolitan Museums and south to NYU and Grenwich Village, seeking in NYU's Stern School my friend Katya for some needed Russian translation at the ballet. Her cell phone was unfortunately disconnected. Let it be said that my one week away was exhausting, coming hard on the heels of quarter finals and preceding three new classes this spring. But my sense of style has at least been liberated.
Big-city "liberation" is, after all, the past week's other, more substantive news.Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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Mudflats, Cruise Ships, and Casinos: Where the Wild Thing$ Are
Simeon Strunsky "Edits" Lincoln
Head, Hands, and Heart: Lincoln the Writer
An English Style, Familiar But Not Coarse
Here, Here: Where Have You Been?
Figures & Tropes
Grammar & Syntax