Sunday, September 20, 2009

Straight talk: an example (1)

As writers, we need a daily dose of straight talk. Most of the diction we read and hear every day is evasive; it’s indirect, euphemistic and insinuating. Anything but straight. We need to read and hear straight talk to counteract the seduction of evasive diction.

A recent example of straight talk

Doug Casey (photo), an economist and bestselling financial author, is internationally famous for his straight-talking style. In an interview last week, he commented on the reaction to Joe Wilson's heckling of Barack Obama:

“One trouble with Congress – one of very many – is that it’s entirely too politically correct. They have rules about how they are supposed to treat each other with respect, not call each other names, etc. But I’m of the opinion, assuming we have to have a Congress at all, that the country was much better served during the 19th century, when these creatures would physically fight each other on the floor and invite each other outside for duels.”*

The Takeaway: Many of us are startled when we read or hear straight talk. We react this way because we have been habituated to evasive diction. Be consciously aware of evasive diction, lest you absorb it and eventually imitate it.

*I selected this sample because of its diction, not its content. On this blog, I am promoting no political position. Unless you consider clarity a political position.

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