Writer’s Craft

I love looking at great sentences and considering what makes ’em great.  Here’re two more for this week’s class assignment: 

If, then, not this, but this.

“If you approach writing your column as I do mine, you see it as an attempt, not to hammer the other side down, but to persuade persuadable minds” (Pitts).

And an effective catalog:  “You and I have the misfortune to live in a time and media culture when people think the loudness of the argument matters more than the coherence of it, when threats and intimidation substitute for logic and reason, a time of made-up ‘facts’ and ideological ‘truth,’ a time when critical thinking is a lost art and ignorance is ascendant” (Pitts).

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One Response to “Writer’s Craft”

  1. Richard Coffee Says:

    It was a great column – one that made me reflect on bullies. After all, it is the loudness of talk show hosts, the ease with which O’Reilly tells guests to shut up, the bufoonness of Rush when he only talks with those who agree with him, even Lou Dobbs setting up Barack as a typical politician because one of his advisors talked with the Canadians without Barack’s knowledge, all of this stuff that one sees reflected in the everyday snubbing of common courtesy. I see it in the police officer who gives a teacher a speeding ticket on an empty road at 6am for going 10 miles over the speed limit when later that day all the traffic will be speeding along 15 miles over the speed limit with impunity. I see it in the man in line at the store who suddenly answers his cell phone and carries on a conversation while others wait. I see it in the child who rejects his parents’ authority or the girl friend who ransacks the apartment of her ex-lover’s new girl friend. It is open hostility, dishonesty, unfriendliness, discourtesy, and otherwise ugly behavior. I know, Pitts was talking about intellectual dishonesty. But I think it shows up in all kinds of everyday behavior. And it seems to me to always come down to denial no matter what. Did it start with Nixon, Clinton? I’m sure long before them. It does seem to be getting worse though, doesn’t it? I just think it’s the examples set that demonstrate to children that there’s a payoff for this kind of behavior.

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