Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Good writing - as writing

Arthur Silber, who I have mentioned before, has started a new blog, Once Upon a Time. He commented in a recent post on his personal situation,

Moreover, and an aspect of this that deeply disheartens me, there is almost no appreciation for decent writing as writing anywhere among blogs or among blog readers. (I'm obviously referring to blogs that focus on culture and politics. I'm aware there is another subset of blogs, which deals with literature and literary concerns. Unfortunately, that subset does not regularly address the other issues that so interest me.) A few well-known bloggers write exceptionally well, Billmon for example. But many of the most prominent bloggers seem to have given up even the most basic rules of grammar and punctuation, and correct spelling has become a memory.

It is true. A lot of the writing in the blogosphere is similar to the writing in the mass media; glib, careless, and often ungrammatical. In the political sphere this may be particularly true, although I find good writing at several websites that are not purely political but have a political element (e.g., Making Light, or The Corpuscle), that furnish me with incredibly good writing that is a pleasure to read.

I am myself more of a reader than a writer. I appreciate good writing with a lot more ease than I can produce it. So, I propose to devote a small series, dedicated to Arthur Silber and his ongoing efforts to state, in elegant and correct English, exactly what's wrong with our current political messes and what we should do about it, on "Good Nonfiction Writers that Changed My Worldview."

(If I did a similar series on fiction, I doubt it would ever end. Fiction is mostly what I read.)

This series includes the following 4 names:

Arthur Silber, himself (I will do him last)
Noam Chomsky (his political books, not his linguistic ones, which I sadly did not have occasion to delve into yet)
Richard Mitchell, "The Underground Grammarian"
Idries Shah

I hope I can get it together to start the series in the next couple of days. My full time job and family make my blogging very inconsistent, though. This post is mostly to say that I am very glad to be reading Arthur's blog on a regular basis once again. I missed it.