The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Word, A Phrase, Perchance to Write

I thought about taking today off. After all, as a blogger, I am my own boss and that makes it up to me. And it isn't like I have to worry about missing a day's pay since I get no pay for this alleged job. But I already take Sundays off and you might think I was (a) stretching my weekend or (b) nursing a hangover.

My weekends already stretch from Sunday to Sunday since I am retired. And I was too ill to consider drinking for the past several days. Though now I am thinking I may have overlooked an opportunity to feel a little better. And I could have mixed it with the codeine laced cough medicine the doctor prescribed.

So, those would be false assumptions on your part, readers. No, the real reason for my lack of posting would have been a lack of something clever, fascinating, intriguing, or enticing to write about.

Sometimes I get ideas from what I read and, currently, I am reading Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I have meant to read this for some time. As a child, I watched just about every Frankenstein movie ever made. And there are many. But Hollywood never did justice to most classic horror novels. You just cannot capture all the nuances the author inserts into his (or, in this case, her) work. References are lost because they do not have a modern counterpart. A Pre-Victorian mindset cannot be understood in more liberal and modern times. Modern day humans cannot relate to the poor state of medicine and human health of the early 1800s.

Ah, but the prose! The beauty of the phrasing and the dance which is the polite exchange between the characters! The difference between the privileged classes and the common people was vast and we have only the writings of those people of privilege because they were the only ones who could write. It is a distorted view, therefore, of the time. But still so beautiful.

[From a preface "letter"]

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday; and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare, and increased confidence in the success of my undertaking.
[about his goal, the North Pole]
There, Margaret, the sun is for ever visible; its broad disk just skirting the horizon, and diffusing a perpetual splendour.

No one writes like that anymore. Modern phrasing seems so drab, so stilted, compared to it (though my Friend at Irish Gumbo makes it sing and reverberate in the soul). I would listen to Shakespeare being read (or acted) and would not understand much of it because I was lost in the music of a language so eloquently expressed. I watched Deadwood because it was done in Shakespearean style, in spite of the rampant profanity, and not for the story.

And now we have texting, which is a sort of unruly shorthand.
Does the advancement of humankind mean the advancement of coarse cheapness of language?

I hope not.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I love Deadwood and Frankenstein. I also admire the way in which people used to write. They are longer sentences, yes, with words more rarely used, but they still make sense, and have an added rhythmic quality to it, as you said - eloquence.

Do you hate it too?
"If you're going through Hell, keep going."