I have many favorite things (one of my notes-to-self for the blog is to discuss my favorite things). I listed some of the addictive (or at least noticeably unproductive) ones yesterday. Youʼre going to read more about some of those in posts to come, unless some unlikely stroke of genius sends the blog in directions as yet unguessed. And I have other things I like, that I donʼt feel are bad for me, to discuss in future posts as well, including (no, I wonʼt succumb to a list for a third day in a row) my preferred music(s), favorite books and movies (topics I have tapped oh-so-very-lightly several times already), interesting websites, religious musings, and pleasant activities (I nearly typed “pleasurable” before my inbuilt censor indicated the potential problem there).
But I realized in creating the daily posts this week that thereʼs one subject/activity that tops all the rest and in which I indulge myself without hesitation or regret (although not necessarily to your indiminishable joy). I love our language, words. I really enjoy stringing together sentences and exploring just what kaleidoscopic mash-ups may evolve. That was the fun of those days when I wrote poetry regularly. That was the heady glory glimmering behind the verbosity of the old poem I posted once and which explodes in all the other poems and prose I treasure, whether present on this forum or otherwise. My linguaphilia, not to coin a word although I thought I was (and the spellchecker didnʼt know the term either), conspires and smiles in all the elongated, perambulating and parenthetically interrupted sentences that I have made for these many posts (242 of them today, evidently). Erupting into strings of (somewhat) logically connected words is unrestrained pleasure for me, and I enjoy nearly as much finding (or rediscovering/remembering) new, exciting (hopefully appropriate) words to use (gotta love electronic thesauri).
Although I donʼt mean my verbal conduct to be offputting, I know how decisively many oppose the use of abundant and profuse words (not to mention floridly expansive and convoluted periodic compound-complex sentences). After all, one might have to look up an unfamiliar locution or even reread a lengthy and winding statement. Hemingway would hate my style, even moreso his fanatic and dutiful disciples. I bet ditto for Hammett, although I have benefited and learned from both men and the supposedly straightforward school of writing. The regimenting and rigorously Rightist bigwig bosses of contemporary “conservativism” donʼt like complexity, either (even the Dextral deference and reverential obescience to Respectable and Almighty Latin adheres to easy words and simple phrases, requiring little or no declension or conjugation, even as their English usage prefers brief and easily misunderstood AngloSaxon generalizations). Complex ideas are too difficult, simply, to impose and purvey, no matter that the truth is multiplex, intricate and difficult (particularly in politics). “Lock and load” sells so much better in the twilit land of troglodytes than ponderous, expansive, actual contemplation and reasonable discussion of knotty issues. Easy answers for simple minds. Forever. Amen.
(Sorry about that. A friend posted something on Facebook a few days ago [referencing this document, for those of you not on FB], as I was composing this post, that got me laughing — at its overt Rightism which slavish friends of the originator simplistically misinterpreted in their regimented, docile compliance with the accepted and enforced Right attitudes — and outraged that anyone should believe U.S. citizens could be so blatantly, but apparently successfully, manipulated. I took an Evernote of the post and its initial responses, perhaps fodder for a future rant. On the other hand, as George Orwell so vividly determined, limiting language is the firmest form thought control [short of successful torture, if we include his perceptions expressed in Nineteen Eighty-Four], and the paranoid Lords of the Right are clearly learning lessons in exploitation and “persuasion” from the fallen Soviets: Keep It Simple for the Stupids.)
Perhaps I should have entitled this post “Freedom of Speech” the way things have developed (but I think that title should belong on a later, more thoughtful and profound post), because what I love about language and spinning out phrases and clauses to weave together is the unqualified freedom of such creative personal expression. (And now I find a theme intertwining this weekʼs posts — freedom, as opposed to obligation, if we want to include Sundayʼs bit of Stars in Heaven. Look back — I love the hits, which by the way are nearing 50,000 according to the counter to the right — and see for yourselves.) Liberty is what language provides to me (in an almost christian way, philosophically, as one must sacrifice oneʼs childhood abandon to acquire and master as best one can the semantic, linguistic and grammatical regulations — and a whole lot of words — in order to enjoy the radical liberation of unconstrained articulation, as churchly folk say one should submit to the savior to find spiritual disenthrallment), and whether that logico-linguistic freedom is real or paradoxical (as the previous parenthetical interjection indicated) or whatever, itʼs fun for me. And I hope not utterly alienating for my readers.
As all the recent posts have run long, I kept this one almost short (-ish). It is a weekend, after all. I hope someone appreciated my redirected (or spatially dyslexic) allusions to one of the most over-the-top political speeches of the modern era — Safireʼs (intentionally?) excessively alliterative words for Agnewʼs obedient mouth.