Tuesday 1 March 2011

the whoa-that-is-so-wow school of nature-writing

The New York speech writer Clark Whelton has written a smart piece about the linguistic virus that he calls vagueness. It opens with a lovely example:

I recently watched a television program in which a woman described a baby squirrel that she had found in her yard. “And he was like, you know, ‘Helloooo, what are you looking at?’ and stuff, and I’m like, you know, ‘Can I, like, pick you up?,’ and he goes, like, ‘Brrrp brrrp brrrp,’ and I’m like, you know, ‘Whoa, that is so wow!

Shelton writes, a little sternly, that the woman "never said anything specific about her encounter with the squirrel".

Meanwhile, for those who do like specifics in their nature-writing, Richard Mabey's new book is here and Robert Macfarlane's latest essay is here.

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