Archive for the English Language Category

Excellence In Journalism? Time For A True Trophy (September 24, 2012)

Posted in Awards / Incentives, English Language, Facebook, Google, Journalism, Language, Newspapers, Press/Media, Writing on September 27, 2012 by

. . .

J1          “Awards shape behavior.”

J2          “The palette of Pulitzers runs the spectrum from purple prose to yellow journalism.”

J1          “And the Pulitzers for black and white journalism run the route from The New York Times group of writers to The Washington Post Writers Group, with a few side shows.  The trophy could be transported on the Eastern Airlines shuttle between the New York and Washington airports named for political types, with a few side trips.”

J2          “I concede that the Pulitzers generally reward solid work, yet they only consider conventional and narrowly defined writing drawn from an exclusive clique of writers.”

J1          “They are an exclusive group because they exclude not because of excellence.  Then the Online News Association Awards emerged to emphasize ‘high-tech bells and whistles’ rather than quality and integrity.  The corporate sponsors call the shots.  The Googles and the Facebooks buy the beer and balloons and make the party possible.  Gobs of gaudy high-tech gadgets on a screen define journalism.”

J2          “But in the end that is what the readership wants.  Journalists cannot lose sight of the legitimate needs and concerns of the reader.  We need to sell the product without selling out.” 

J1          “Journalism needs a new way of thinking and a new award.  Awards shape behavior.”

. . .

[J1 = Journalist 1; J2 = . . . ]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Here today, gone today

Where’s the tofu?

Too much sizzle, not enough tofu

So Many Words, So Few Ideas (Sept. 21, 2009)

Posted in Bernanke, English Language, Journalism, Recession, Society on September 21, 2009 by

Too many books published today are distended essays on steroids.  Too many essays are too wordy and not too woody.  Writers are not paid by the word, yet they write as if they were.  Writers should write less; editors should edit more.

Nonetheless, there are far more well-written pieces than one can savor before the candle goes out.

(“The recession is very likely over at this point.”  Ben Bernanke, September 15, 2009 in a speech at the Brookings Institution, one year to the date after Senator McCain proclaimed on September 15, 2008:  “The fundamentals of our economy are sound.”)

Bumper sticker of the week:

The Six-Word Memoir is America’s Haiku


“During his lifetime, he penned over 418 books, 1279 essays, 3065 monographs, . . . received seven Pulitzer Prizes and three Nobel Prizes . . . and is known for one cleverly crafted original phrase propounded in 1985.”

American English Again (June 12, 2006)

Posted in English Language, Immigration on June 12, 2006 by

The movement to declare American English to be the official language reveals America’s increasing insecurity and desperation.  The movement may be harmless unless it includes some limitations on the use of other languages in law or commerce.  However, why allow more government intervention into our lives?  Let the markets decide.  If consumers desire an owners manual written in English, Spanish and Swahili, so be it.  The Chinese will respond to the demands of the market with little direction or resistance from their government.  We do not need any intervention from ours.  Immigrants learn English.  If the populace could reflect for a few minutes, there is one less problem to keep us awake at night.

Himno Nacional Americano – The National Anthem in Spanish (May 15, 2006)

Posted in English Language, Immigration on May 15, 2006 by

The National Anthem in Spanish?  Americans should be proud that the National Anthem is translated into and sung in foreign languages.  They are singing our song in their language.  The song celebrates a flag.  Our flag.  That is an ad man’s dream.

American English should be the official language of the United States.  Spanish should be the second official language.  We in the Americas (North, Central and South) should do business and pleasure in both English and Spanish (and show deference to French and Portuguese along the way).  All signs, owner’s manuals, bill boards and beer ads should be presented in both languages.  No real man resorts to the instructions, but a real man can maintain his manhood by resorting to the instructions in another language.  It may be all Greek to him, but at least his manhood is intact.  “?Hey Larry, what’s a destornillador?”

Communication and transportation are key to economic growth and development.  Communication requires more than a network of telegraph lines and cell phone repeater towers.  A common language makes communication easier, more efficient.  A thousand languages and the thousand cultures that gave rise to the languages in the Central and South Americas were vanquished by the Spanish (with the assistance of the Portuguese, Dutch and English).  At this time, the Spanish language is one of legacies of the terror of colonialism.  A positive and promising legacy.  A common means of communication allows someone in Tierra del Fuego to communicate with someone in Bahia de Los Angeles.  Those citizens living in the City of Angels should learn how to communicate with others in Bogota.  Americans should be as eager to learn Spanish as most immigrants are to embrace English.

Sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada!