Saturday, March 18, 2006

Great Writers Care About Words.

Recently I weighed in a bit on behalf of my favourite writer, Mark Steyn- on threads like this one at Tim Worstall's. I'm sure he'll recover from being pushed out from the British press; in fact I'm sure he'll be back before long, but no-one should be taking liberties with a writer as good as him, least of all the DT and the Spectator.

Anyway, today Steyn has produced another gem for one of his newer syndicators, Macleans, where he writes about books. I loved this observation about the debasement of language:

'When the British hostage Ken Bigley met the same fate, his brother Paul complained that Tony Blair had "blood on his hands." This seemed an especially unworthy accusation when anyone with an Internet connection could see the relevant snuff video with Mr. Bigley's blood on the hands of his killers. Indeed, the key difference between the participants in this conflict is that on one side clich├ęs about "blood on his hands" and "calls for the defence secretary's head" are just that, and on the other they're for real.'

It reminds me of some of George Orwell's concern about the overuse of metaphor in his Politics and the English Language, and this care about language seems to be one that distinguishes great writers from exploiters of words.

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