Saturday, September 29, 2012


I found this post in the Drafts file - one I thought I had published months ago.  Since it saves as of the date you wrote it, but publishes in real time - please accept that this was written in April, but still says some relevant things (to my mind!).

Okay, Arianna Huffington on Colbert says "The Huffington Post is not about Right versus Left, it is about Right versus WRONG ..."

Oh, honey.

And I read HuffPo from time to time.

But THAT.  Is writerliness.  And this finally gets me off my bum to write that Writerly post I've been thinking and saying I was going to get to soon.



Writerly writing goes past self-consciousness and ends up in self-satisfaction instead, skewing either twee or superior depending upon its point.  And it always has a point, which itself is tiresome.

More often than not, the latter seasons of M*A*S*H represent for me the sins of writerliness - the didactic sentimentality, the heavily over-ground axes - but it is popular even in journalism.  In fiction, it can get pretty thick.  Fiction peopled with auto-characters, avatars for an author's self (or dreams of self) modeled into *ary *ues, cheap exposition working to be clever, would-be clever verbiage straining to teach.

The writerly writer can be heard finding their own work witty and charming.  On television, Sorkin productions sometimes fluff a writerly writer.  Sitcoms of course do it, see the old war horse referenced above.  In the seventies, before irony, archness, and meta came along (we did not know of these concepts of course, the human race before Teh Intarwebs), earnestness was done to a scale which might appear ostentatious to the wiser eyes of today.  (Is Diane being writerly?  The world may never know.  But as Mr. X knows, I was never suBtle.)

Cleverness and sincerity had a dangerously passionate relationship, and of course audiences had no critical eye for it.  This stuff was ENT-ertaiment!  (*Cue Lovitz doing his Thespian character.)  Even the quiet writerly moment - *especially* the quiet writerly moment - was thick with portent.  "Portent!" these moments cried, with their contrived intensity.  "Portent ..." they whispered, with the profundity of Lesson.

Ahh.  Writerly writing.

It's hardly gone the way of the dodo, since all us hayseed pre-'netters grew up and got iPhones.  Even reality TV occasionally falls prey to writerliness, don't kid yourself.  And reality serves us up intimate, powerful personal monologues by the multi-ton.

If only we could keep it out of "JOURNALISM" ...  Whatever that even is, anymore.  The best ones out there are Colbert and Stewart.  What does that say about our supposed non-fiction writers??

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