I must confess I am becoming increasingly irritated by the poor quality of the written word these days. Now, I’m not setting myself up as some modern day Leo Tolstoy but Bart Simpson’s lines at the start of the programme each week are better constructed than almost anything I see emanating from the pen of most people under 30 years old. Put it this way, it’s as if English teachers have thrown in the towel. Good syntax is as prevalent as an effective pass at Easter Road.
William Burroughs would be having a field day. His cut up technique (also known as non-linear narrative – how appropriate) now looks like one of the most visionary movements in world history. Only he didn’t know it. And if you are unfamiliar with his challenging (and frankly pish) work. Here’s a wee Wiki definition…
Cut-up is performed by taking a finished and fully linear text (printed on paper) and cutting it in pieces with a few or single words on each piece. The resulting pieces are then rearranged into a new text. The rearranging of work often results in surprisingly innovative new phrases. A common way is to cut a sheet in four rectangular sections, rearranging them and then typing down the mingled prose while compensating for the haphazard word breaks by improvising and innovating along the way.
I’d have thought blogging might have brought youngsters back into the literary fold, the thought of publishing their prose publicly maybe incentivising a bit of attention to detail. And maybe it does but then, we’re not all bloggers.
I despair. I really do. In my short sentence, short paras and starting sentences with conjunctions ways.