RE: What Constitutes Great Writing?

Subject: RE: What Constitutes Great Writing?
From: "Hemstreet, Deborah" <DHemstreet -at- kaydon -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2008 13:45:39 -0400

I think this is going to be a difficult one to define.

Great writing - not a specific genre. The reason this is difficult is
because of the nature of the arts to begin with. I used to really *hate*
modern art... Until I read somewhere that truly great art is a
reflection of the society it comes out of... Wish I could remember who
said that... Francis Schaeffer???

Writing as an art form, then, would be considered great if it is a true
reflection of the society we live in. Clearly blogs and the such are a
reflection of huge changes in our world. Is it great art? I guess only
time will tell. I'd like to say "no"... But you see, Jackson Pollok is
still considered a great artist. I maintain, a three year old can throw
paint on a canvas - the art critique answers, but it is HOW he threw the
paint which makes him great....

There are trends in our American culture which I believe will result in
the dumbing down of people. For example, how much do we simplify English
before we begin to loose the fine nuances in words which have made our
language so expressive (albeit ranking with Chinese as one of the most
difficult to learn)?

Once upon a time a Chinese child was in school from as early as they
could sit and learn. They prided themselves on how many characters they
could learn. A truly educated person knew more than 10,000 characters by
memory at a very early age - and that was the pure language. Today,
simplified Chinese robs the people of their history, heritage, and
understanding in each symbol - but the language is available to the
masses (in the mainland).

Likewise, English has been a wonderful language. With few exceptions, we
can still read English written several hundred years ago and understand
it for the most part. But the move to simplify our language, along with
cultural changes that do not just allow, but accept poor grammar, poor
spelling, and poor communication is leading to, I believe, the loss of
our language, the dumbing down of people, and ultimately, a generation
that is not going to be very thoughtful or philosophical - they won't be
able to be - the language won't let them.

We have no idea how much language shapes our knowledge and who we

On the other hand, it does give those of us who truly care about
communication a job, so someone besides a potential dictator does
benefit! <grin>

Well, I've probably waxed philosophical enough now to generate a
plethora of agreement/disagreement and discussion for the next month!

Have fun!



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