August 03, 2004




You are now referring to the final final final

I'm on my way to check the Open Letter to Sam
Tanenhaus—lot's of fun there— but I couldn't pass by the righteous dither by the not -that -Moore guy.

Sometimes writers and even other people exaggerate to make a point. To both Moore and Fuentes I would keep in mind Chou En Lai's [Chou was the number 2 man in Red China] response when asked what he thought about the French Revolution, "Too soon to tell."

Michael Robertson Moore

I believe that was Chou En Lai's response to a question about the MEANING of the French Revolution, and he might have had a point. Though let's keep in mind Chou had a lot of blood on his hands and could hardly afford NOT to be a little casual about the comparatively small body count racked up by a piker like Robespierre.

Anyhow, I have a hard time imagining any respectable history book, in fifty, a hundred, or two hundred years' time, rating our invasion of Iraq as a greater catastrophe than Pol Pot's reign. Neither do I see any point to be made by that sort of hysterical exaggeration, except to whip into a frenzy those who are more than frenzied enough.

Michael Not-The Fat-F#@k-From-Flint-and-Hardly-a-Ditherer Moore

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


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