Sunday, June 2, 2013

"In Ghana, once a British colony, where English remains the official but a second language, they have an interesting usage for the verb 'try.' If a Ghanaian does something particularly well, he is often told, 'You tried.' What might be an insult in American English is high praise there, a recognition that purity of intention lies at the core of the achievement."

. . . .

"So the size of the world that a writer is trying to create often has something to do with the presence or absence of the word 'I.' Against a large background, 'I' can provide human scale. Most travel writing, for instance, depends on the first person, the figure in the photograph that shows you just how tall the statue is. As a rule, the smaller the canvas, the more intrusive the first person is likely to be."

. . . .

"So yes, of course, just about everything is subjective. But people who take a particular glee in that idea usually have other agendas. It is only a couple of steps to the idea that all opinions are equally valuable, that because truth is multifaceted, and indeed infinite if you slice it finely enough, then all truth is equally valuable and equally suspect. 'If it's true for you, then it's true' - that whole quagmire of postmodern nihilism. Subjectivity is for some people a disinhibiting drug. It absolves them of responsibility.

But subjectivity properly understood is really just another name for thought. Subjectivity simply acknowledges the presence of a mediator between the facts and the truth . . . Acknowledging subjectivity absolves you of nothing."

- Good Prose, Tray Kidder & Richard Todd

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