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August 14, 2003

Andrew Orlowski is not impressed

Andrew Orlowski is not impressed with webloggers whose main theme is the importance of, er, weblogging: "Imagine how tedious newspapers would be if every other story proclaimed 'We use INK!!!'"

August 14, 2003 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 12, 2003

Downsizing explained

job: A sudden stab with a pointed instrument.  This seems to be nearly the original sense.  (Noah Webster, 1828)

Cited in Jeffrey Kacirk, Altered English.

August 12, 2003 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mark Dunn, Ella Minnow Pea

The idea of writing a novel using a steadily diminishing range of letters sounds like an exercise in literary masturbation, a pointless demonstration of one's own cleverness.  Fortunately, this remarkable book does work as a novel, and it works well -- clever, funny and sympathetic.

The setting is an island which revers the pangram "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog."  When letters start falling from the statue which commemorates this achievement, the council decrees that people must stop using the falling letters -- including in the letters they write to each other which make up the story.  So the exercise of cutting out letters is an essential part of the plot rather than a purely formal game.  It also works wonderfully when characters briefly, gloriously rebel and start using all twenty-six letters again -- you can feel the sense of liberation in the writing.

You probably have to enjoy language for its own sake to really get into a book like this, but if you do, it's well worth a look.

August 12, 2003 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack