Re: "It Ain't Literature, Y'know"

Subject: Re: "It Ain't Literature, Y'know"
From: Peter Gold <pgold -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 1996 10:38:33 -0700


The reference to John Muir's Volkswagen repair manual "for the complete
idiot" reminded me (no nostalgia ahead... relax) of my first reaction to
reading it (not the pictures which were my first real reaction and made
me buy it).

He wrote as a guide; "I've done this and I've taught others to do this and
still others have learned it from this book and you can too" was the tone.
IOW, set a level with the user, and, if you can, also instill confidence.

He wrote for different learning styles. One could read and do
simultaneously, or read, then do, because the of presentation, that old
"tell 'em what's coming, do/show it, tell 'em what just happened."

Ornament? Affectation? Decoration? Mannerism? Your call. It was chatty,
but didn't take advantage of having your attention to try out comedy as
the author's second career, which is a thread in the Funny/Dummy school
of information-transfer writing.

Consider that this book told readers how to put their body parts close to
moving machinery that had the additional components of highly explosive
fuel vapors and the possibility of electrical and metal-to-metal contact
sparks. IOW, the opportunity to make "toasted" a descriptive term, not
just a metaphor. Any responsible writer should consider ambiguity that
compromises clarity just as dangerous when it creates "only"

__________________peter gold pgold -at- netcom -dot- com__________________

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