Reg Rogers is aptly weasely (if typically slurry) as the sniping cynic Lucio, gleefully bad-mouthing the Duke to his face when he is disguised as the friar.This is from a review of a new production of Measure by Measure in the New York Times, I believe part of the summer 2011 Shakespeare in the Park series. How strong and confident and fun this language feels.
This lovely sentence demonstrates the quaint belief there are still serious and educated readers. In our bad-tempered times, this is uncharacteristically optimistic. How wonderful to think there are many others who enjoy a colorful and imaginative sentence. I find reviews of books, theater, and other arts will often have at least one of these amazing high-calorie sentences. This is why I worked so hard and for so long to develop my word and communication skills.
It's possible legacy journalism can survive if there are enough "users," i.e. readers who read well and grasp meaning from within a dense grove of thought and language, who will also seek that kind of language online, and on the printed page as well, if that medium survives.
In contrast to this dizzying vocabulary and pyrotechnic presentation of ideas in the paper and online, at my place of employ I find exercising my word chops causes uneasiness. I have to dilute what I say, and I need to think specifically about to and for whom I'm writing. Multiple addresses on an email changes its meaning. I have to manage how others interpret what I write; I'm sometimes interpreted as aggressive and even a bit patronizing. Ugggh. I have to manage what I write and the way I express my opinions. I guess my best success comes from tailoring language usage to the people and the situation. It's nice to be inspiring without being off-putting.
It's interesting how a hierarchy is defined and maintained by the list of who we must "watch our language" around. I once described the corporate ladder as the list of who you can say no to. It's also important to note how this makes the serious writer-- whether a novelist, essayist, news reporter, correspondent, poet-- the highest in any hierarchy, since they can't tailor their published words for any specific person. Novelists and writers rule.
I'm inspired by the good writing in the New York Times online. There, I've said it. I'm glad there are serious readers out there, and serious writing is targeting them. I hope the newspapers' new business models work and save their papers and in the process, save the whole concept of serious journalism. And perhaps save civilization, which is not a bad thing.
Well, in being "aptly weasely (and typically slurry)" I guess I've hammered this topic to death.