Saturday, January 27, 2007

Orwell's pursuit of 'happyness'


Does the above make you angry?
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Do you even notice what's the matter with it?
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No?
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Well, this sort of thing makes me cross. It's a lazy bastardisation of the English language, as annoying for me as someone calling University 'uni', or, for a designer, someone using Arial rather than Helvetica. Grr.
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*Gets off soapbox*
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I am an ex-English student, so I am probably more of a spelling nazi than most, as well as a stickler for commas and full stops in their right place.
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Anyway - to get to the meat of this post - I was having a discussion on Friday with Richard, and we were discussing about how Orwell essentially taught himself to write. I don't think Orwell's treatise 'Politics and the English Language' was brought up.
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Read it here; it should be required reading for anyone who is looking to write professionally/writes run on sentences that last more than 400 words.
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For what it's worth, I think my writing has become much worse recently - I'm going to make an effort to adopt Orwell's stance. More short, punchy sentences. Less rambling (disclaimer: unless a post of mine my sparks another thought).
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6 comments:

Stan Lee said...

That poster's been bugging me for weeks. I was going to post about it on Brand DNA but I wasn't 100% certain it was wrong.

It looks wrong. It smells wrong. It feels wrong. I just wanted to check my dictionary before I wrote it up. I should have trusted my instinct.

richard huntington said...

|it is a briliant essay - you will never use a dead metaphor again in your life having read it. It is where I got the idea that bad panners are just cliche sponges.

charles said...

Indeed it looks wrong but isn't it American film and don't they spell things differently over there? Of course the company marketing the film over here could have noted that. But yeah I was in the States when this was coming out and it looks like they've just used the same promo stuff from the original release. Anyway only midly annoying to myself - there's a great book called something like God and Coca Cola that I read a while ago that had some amazing examples of Coke using the same tag lines in places like Japan and China where rather than say 'Quenches your thirst' it tranlated as 'Shit in your cereal' or something.

Will said...

Apparently 'happyness' has something to do with the story itself, but 'happyness' isn't an Americanism.. it's just damn wrong...

I should probably start a flickr page of apostrophes used wrongly, but then, I'd really prove myself to be a saddo ex-English student.

Freddie & Hollie said...

'Happyness' is written outside the childs school. Throughout the film Will Smith appeals to have it removed and written with correct spelling. Drove me crazy too until I saw the film... or is it movie... ?

My Marrakech said...

Thank you, Freddie. Personally I think we should take happiness no matter how it's spelled:-)

 
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