Thursday, February 07, 2013

The old guy listens to you,

It won't hurt you to listen to the old guy once in awhile.

Poorly written Facebook status update of the day, posted by a young writer friend:

"if you've ever done something more peaceful than a night walk on a really clear, bitterly cold night, you're lying."

 Nothing says peaceful like telling your friends to shut up if  they have  another peaceful thing to suggest.

There are several young writers I keep an eye on at FB. A status update is an opportunity to write something  brief & succinct. It's a good exercise. Usually, the opinion expressed doesn't matter to me. I'm more interested in clarity & tone. One of these writers is an ideologue. He also a temperamentally kind person. The combination trips him into contradictions. But being an ideologue, he cannot acknowledge & embrace these contradictions, which are natural. Recognizing  self-contradiction is a rich source of humor. But ideologues are usually humorless when they write or speak ideologically.

Another writer, the one quoted above, also a nice person, tends to see things only in terms of the effect on herself (or more expansively, a small group of people her own age). We have a snowstorm on the way & her status update today is "Can we get a proper Snowpocalypse tonight so I can get a 3 day weekend?! Jeez." You can see the similarity between this & yesterday's update. I am not looking forward to this storm, which is not due to really kick in until later on Friday.  Neither are first responders & essential service workers, or parents of school age children, or those with plans for the weekend that require driving - which may be as routine as food shopping.   But I can understand why someone would want it to extend all the way to Monday.  So use a "we" instead of an "I."

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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