Books to Note

Sunday, March 26, 2006
Posted in category Uncategorized
Comments Off

Things I’m reading now:

- Paul Fussel’s BAD: Or, the Dumbing Down of America

- Joyce Cary’s Power in Men

- The Divine Right of Kings by John Neville Figgis

- George Mowry’s The Twenties: Fords, Flappers, and Fanatics

Paul Fussel’s “bad” is not nearly as dumb as it seems. Fussell–who has an essay included in the Mises Institute’s Costs of War–is a hilarious critic, albeit a persnickety one. The Washington Post calls him a “world-class curmudgeon.” On language, Fussell says:

It’s necessary to understand at the outset that BAD language is not bad, like shit or motherfucker. It’s more like gaming for gambling, taupe for mouse gray, starters for appetizers, shower activity for rain, nonperforming loans for bad debts, and preexisting (or resale) home for used house. That is, there must be in the language, as there is not in, say, fuck, an impulse to deceive, to shade the unpleasant or promote the ordinary to the desirable or wonderful, to elevate the worthless by a hearty laying-on of the pretentious. The object is almost always to make money off the credulous and the insecure, to swindle the naive and impressionable.

Be Sociable, Share!
Both comments and pings are currently closed.