Daily Archives: 2013-06-25 11:48:49 GMT+0000

Scholar Joel Explains Nuance

If you haven’t had a chance to catch Joel Watts’ response to my previous post on his HuffPo hot mess, by all means, go take a look. It’s the post with a color photo of the lovely Cecilia Bartoli near the top of the page and a black-and-white self-portrait of Joel farther down.

To the charge of reckless disregard for intelligible language, Joel pleads not guilty by reason of “nuance,” and deflects the criticism back at me, writing:

. . . in spite of not needing to answer imbeciles, I wante [sic] to speak to the use of several of these phrases — phrases that cannot be googled.

If Joel or anyone else did not understand me, I regret that I wasn’t clearer. When I read works by talented authors, and I encounter an odd turn of phrase, I endeavor to grasp the meaning. Consider the oft-misquoted line (and title!) from Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Many people will insist on turning the word “gentle” into an adverb. But the master poet used an adjective. Why did he do that? It’s worth digging into, but only because we know that Dylan Thomas was a great writer — an artist, not an oaf hiding behind the fig leaf of “nuance.”

read more »