Monday, November 3, 2014

Concise writing is usually clear writing (39) – Fred Reed

Fred Reed (pictured), a former U. S. Marine, is a veteran police reporter. He describes himself as “an equal-opportunity irritant.”

His writing style is concise, clear and candid. Unlike many reporters, he rarely hides behind circumlocution, insinuation, innuendo, ambiguity, euphemism or equivocation. For example, in his recent blog post, “Black Power: A Done Deal,” he concisely and clearly states an opinion that tens of millions of Americans are afraid to state candidly – or even think.

Here are three excerpts:
“It is curious that blacks, the least educated thirteen percent of the population, the least productive, most criminal, and most dependent on governmental charity, should dominate national politics. Yet they do. Virtually everything revolves around what blacks want, demand, do, or can’t do. Their power seems without limit.”
. . .
“We must never, ever say or do anything that might upset them, as virtually everything does. It is positively astonishing. One expects the rich and smart to have disproportionate power. But America is dominated from the slums.”
. . .
“The dominance extends to children. When in junior high one of my daughters brought home a science handout with common chemical terms badly misspelled. ‘Is your teacher black?’ I said without thinking. ‘Daaaaaaady!’ she said in anguish, having made the connection but knowing that she shouldn’t have. Blacks control what you can say to your own children in your own home.

I don’t know whether you agreed or disagreed with Mr. Reed’s opinion, but I’m sure you easily understood what the opinion is. He states it concisely, clearly and candidly.

Please keep in mind that this is a blog about clear writing, not about opinions. When I select text samples for this blog, it is because the writing is especially clear (or especially unclear). I quote people who I disdain, people who I admire, and everything in between.

The Takeaway: To improve the clarity of your writing, spend at least 10 minutes a day reading aloud from writers who write clearly. You will see, hear and feel the stark contrast between careful diction and the scatterbrain diction (sample here) that besets us every day. The topic you select for your reading doesn’t matter, because you’re reading for style not content. If you would like a list of recommended writers and works, please email me at joeroy(at)joeroy(dot)com. Ask for my “List of Writers to Absorb.” I will respond via email.

See disclaimer.

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