On the occasion of my 2,000th post at RedStateEclectic, here is a little act of celebration, a humble allusion to the intellectual armchair-acrobatics that I have been allowed to hazard publically here since 2008.
Rationalism leads to sophocracy, the rule of the (supposedly) wise. Of course, it's a travesty of the idea of wisdom to equate its meaning with possession of ultimate truth or exclusive access to superior insight. However, in a rationalistic culture a voice tends to enjoy popular authentication when it appears to be the voice of an expert. In this way, we are being inundated by a deluge of expert voices crowding out the limited, genuine expertise of which we are capable.
For some reason, in my posts, I tend to avoid contractions like isn't, don't, won't, I've, she's. Generally, my impression is that even in rather formal texts it is not uncommon to use contractions nowadays. Skillful writers and journalists use them all the time. So, I have grown uncertain about my habit. However, considering the below advice, I feel encouraged to stick to it, at least some of the time. Though, I do acknowledge that more contractions might make for greater correspondence between text and tone in a number of posts that are clearly informal. I shall work on the contextual fit - after all:
The answer lies in the formality of the document that you are preparing. If you are engaged in formal writing, I would suggest that you avoid using all contractions. This includes cover letters, résumés, theses, essays, etc. Because the use of contractions seems more informal, you should avoid them in any instance in which you want to portray a professional, respected image.
However, some types of text benefit from the inclusion of contractions. Specifically, if you want your text to have a more informal, conversational tone, sprinkling some contractions throughout your writing can help you accomplish this. These types of text may include fictional stories or novels, dialogue, or personal letters or emails.
I keep getting anonymous messages from the NSA, who congratulate me on my posts. These people are intelligent, educated and civil. They assure me that there are practically no more readers in total of the RedStateEclectic-blog than the few that show up in the counter. But they tell me not to worry, as my following at their agency is large. While initially forced to read the blog, typically agents soon enjoy the task and even become eager to introduce co-workers to the treat.
In a recent message, some of my friends at the NSA suggested I should take up again the habit of posting pieces concerned with architectural issues. Topically, some orientation is needed, they tell me, for those among them involved in a dispute over the aesthetic qualities of the agency's premises.
I am happy to oblige, and so, let's set foot in the pantheon of the God's of architecture, and visit the great Le Corbusier.
Le Corbusier was born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret in 1887, in the small French-Swiss town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, where his father was an engraver of watchcases and his mother a musician. His father wanted him to follow in his footsteps; but as an adolescent, Le Corbusier showed precocious artistic ability, attended the local school of fine arts for a time, and then wandered Europe for several years in a program of aesthetic self-education. His extraordinary abilities were evident in the brilliant draftsmanship of his early (and conventional) drawings and watercolors. He also made furniture of great elegance before the bug of intellectual and artistic revolutionism bit him.
Le Corbusier adopted his pseudonym in the 1920s, deriving it in part from the name of a distant ancestor, Lecorbésier. But in the absence of a first name, it suggests a physical force as much as a human being. It brings to mind the verb courber, to bend, and, of course, Le Corbusier was a great bender of townscapes to his own will. It also brings to mind le corbeau, the crow or raven, not a conventionally beautiful bird in plumage or song, but one that is simple and unornamental in both and therefore, metaphorically speaking, honest and undeceiving, as Le Corbusier claimed his architecture to be. In French, le corbeau has a further meaning: that of a bird of ill omen—and perhaps that is the architect’s little joke upon the world. He was certainly of ill omen for the cities of Europe and elsewhere.
Read more of Dalrymple's essay on le Corbusier at the source.
I never understood why people are adverse to expanding their vocabulary, and why they disparage those with a wider lexicon rather than learning from them. At any rate:
Stroking my glabrous chin, I feel a sensation of knismesis, indeed of horripilation along my arm. While pondering thoughts that descend on me stillatitiuosly, I fletcherize my Hamburger, and dip my nose in the barm. Postprandial calm takes possession of me. For a moment I'm all pandiculation. I take a few pursy steps, before velleity stops me. No doubt: the price I pay for pernoctation. Like the lippitude plaguing me. Suddenly, I cachinnate - at the faineant state I'm in.
And here's your chance to decipher my words:
More on metathesis, affrication, and other linguistic wonders, here.