Sunday, July 09, 2006

itsy-bitsy rules for itsy-bitsy people

Another thing that depressed him was prescriptive rhetoric, which supposedly had been done away with but was stull around. This was the old slap-on-the-fingers-if-your-modifiers-were-caught-dangling stuff. Correct spelling, correct punctuation, correct grammar. Hundreds of itsy-bitsy rules for itsy-bitsy people. No one could remember all that stuff and concentrate on what he was trying to write about. It was all table manners, not derived from any sense of kindness or decency or humanity, but originally from an egotistic desire to look like gentlemen and ladies. Gentlemen and ladies had good table manners and spoke and wrote grammatically. It was what identified with the upper classes.


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