But That’s My Brain You’re Talking About

There is no specific answer . . . .

Conversations go wherever they will, but it also feels really, really stupid to actually stand there and say the words, “And if it kills me?” Honestly, I just don’t understand why the discussion really would need to go that far.

It may well have taken two and a half years to recover from the last time. And that’s presuming such repair and recovery is actually finished, which is itself a problematic definition.

Still, though, why not? I mean, I get it. Here, instead of just blindly telling you to try buying this and if that doesn’t work maybe in a year we’ll try buying something else, now we have a test to tell you what to buy, and if it doesn’t work, it only takes a couple years to recover, at least, but, hey, why do that, because you can just take the new, improved, updated test again and try buying something else, and at some point, being wrong can kill people.

But never ask the question, because we already know the answer:Say what?

“And if it kills me?”
Don’t be silly.

This is not some simple thing, like switching mouthwash. That we might achieve a need to ask the question explicitly would seem significant.


On Function, Aesthetics, and Screw the Goddamn Birds

This is something I don’t understand about basic function: Why move the birdseed away from the door nearest the feeder and hide it in the back of the closet?

Or did I miss a note, somewhere, that we are finished feeding birds?

The only thing that makes sense is that there really isn’t any other place to “put it away”, and all things must be put away, especially if that means not simply putting them somewhere not simply inconvenient, but also deliberately disruptive, to function.

Styling Evolution, or, the Elements of Futility

Does it count as Skitt’s Law if, despite being unplanned, it still manages to make the point, anyway?

I would, however, note that once upon a time I actually lost an internet argument about how language evolves. There is a word we use, from the Italian; most Americans get it from “mob” movies. In a world in which I am supposed to know, off the top of my head, that the word is now officially spelled “koppish”, because, y’know, language evolves, I have also learned to remember that some evolution leads the way of the dodo.

When you hear someone justify poor presentation with something about how language evolves, it does in fact behoove us to consider whether the “evolution” in question improves or denigrates communication.

There is an argument that says EoS only makes good people feel bad about their own writing, but there is also a way in which that argument relies on some contradictory notion about communication. There are a lot of good people who communicate poorly; somewhere between, say, failing to speak in a way that fails to frighten a stupid, frightened person with a gun and, oh, I don’t know, being able to write a sentence without netspeak shorthand, exists a viable question by which communicative skills really are a proper consideration for self-conscious good people.

It’s just hard to figure though, to what degree the Elements bring jittery self-awareness to people who don’t know what the book is, or have never tried to use it.

Did you see what I did, there?

The gaffe in the sentence about the stupid person with a gun really is a mistake of revising something or another in the moment as that jalope hit the page.





See also:

“Why ‘The Elements of Style” is out of style”. Public Radio International. 8 February 2018.