You Got Style
· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
December 27, 2004
· The Underground Grammarian — Richard Mitchell ·
This old photo suggests what I have in mind.
It's of Richard Mitchell, taken July 6, 1982. Mitchell was then known for a quaint journal of modest circulation called The Underground Grammarian. Published from his basement in Pitman, New Jersey — where you see him attending to his printing press — it was always brilliant, both stylistically and substantively. I still recall Mitchell's remarking to me: "You know the right definition of a free press? It's the right of everyone to have a printing press in the basement." Since I had had some printing experience, we hit it off well.
So I thought to include part of the interview I taped that July afternoon, its now-quite-resonant conclusion. (My transcript I found in my own cluttered basement, next to my small press — an old Multilith 80.) Of the things we talked about, Ludwig Wittgenstein's most famous saying quite naturally arose:
Our interview aptly ended when, in discussing a passage from the bible, Mitchell mentioned the difficulty of teaching students to know metaphor rightly. Here is our exchange:
Two years ago today, you should know, Richard Mitchell died. His being still speaks, stylishly if silently, at The Underground Grammarian.Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
December 20, 2004
· Two Christmas Letters, in Minor and Major Washington Style ·
We've been fitting the happenings of a whole year into a short text. It's hard work, especially when in a page your best tricks turn mostly on what's left out, not on what's put in. Since we have said little about our recent offline life, we've thought to share our Christmas letter, one edited each year with that cast of characters you've maybe come to know.
We Stylechoices are of course mostly insubstantial, with some minor Washington-State visibility, celebrity, and reality. So, please, do enjoy our
Should you want some major Washington visibility, celebrity, and reality, we can also oblige. For we've just received from Laura Bush what she's recently sent from Crawford, Texas, via London. Since naming her in Home on the Range of Texas Gobbledygook, I've indeed been marked for my stylish democratic patriotism and Christian charity, at least online. So enjoy, more stylishly, from the Southern White House, Howdy Friends! What a year!Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
December 11, 2004
· Handy-Dandy Rule 22½: Loose but not Lax ·
I've taught philosophy in a science building at some distance from where my comp students have often sat waiting this term. So my arrivals have sometimes prompted smiles, smiles occasioning a few of us to grasp an important principle of indulgence: how one sometimes meets his limits on the long climb from science to art.
I begin this way because I have one happy rule to share today, what I call Handy-Dandy Rule 22½:
I've of course tried to follow it myself because it aptly underlies so much of what I try to teach. Still, I've thought to offer another's more stylish discussion of it today, that of the fine English writer, F. L. Lucas:
Although seldom from my example have students ever begun to learn it, I'm pleased to say that, in student portfolios I'm grading now, I'm beginning to see the rule's steady application — which Lucas marks, indeed, much better than I:
And of course, so it is.Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
December 3, 2004
· Pulp and Paper, Logging the Blog ·
My bracketing [properly pointed] suggests I'm still having trouble with this word. Although soon to be in print in Webster's next edition, it makes stylish loggers like me even mourn the trees, since they've done no wrong. Although I have twice deigned to use the term — once in Doonesbury Does the Blog and again in Tradition and the Individual Talent: Aristotle Does the Blog — I feel ashamed using it if only on electronic authority.
Anyway, my thanks for Webster's word that I might soon have a new, papery, offline lookup to make.
I'll leave that lookup to you, too.Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
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The Underground Grammarian — Richard Mitchell
Two Christmas Letters, in Minor and Major Washington Style
Handy-Dandy Rule 22½: Loose but not Lax
Pulp and Paper, Logging the Blog
Figures & Tropes
Grammar & Syntax