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Podcast    H4'ed 9/29/10

Roy Peter Clark The Glamour of Grammar

Broadcast 9/29/2010 at 2:40 PM EDT (2 Listens, 2 Downloads, 3 Itunes)
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Roy Peter Clark The Glamour of Grammar

Rob: I still remember the grammar book from junior high, which I hated.

It's not eat pray, love, it's read, write and talk-- living in language.

Grammar and glamour as in magic,
same sense as spell as in to cast a spell.

We need to create not just individual, but communities of readers and writers are essential for education, a good and productive work force and citizenship.

the romantic myth of the isolated writer, living in a loft with a cat named Hemingway, it's long overdue that we replace that with a collective idea of who the writer is, what the writer does and how that benefits societies. Grew up in an Italian family on the lower east side of New York. My Grandma sadie could swear like a longshoreman in English, Italian and Yiddish. This family. while they admired artists, they sensed in themselves a rich culture of song and story, that I was immersed in.
Top down and bottom up sense of language.
In Catholic school, was learning all of the traditional rules of language,
also listening to Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis... Â nothing like what learned at school
Whole lotta shakin' goin' on...
Ain't nuttin but a houndog.

it was Mark Twain who re-invented american literature with Huck Finn...

Bottom up and top down language...
regional, ethnic and class-- dialects, are powerful forms of expression.
Some days I wear my tuxedo when it comes to language and some days I wear my cut off jeans and flip flops.
it's a matter of understanding your audience and matching your level of language to community conversations in the public interest.

Orwell wrote about propaganda during world war 2 in response to Goebbels and the nazi propaganda machine, as well as American and British-- He thought of it as the use of language in order to communicate a powerful idea that you're trying to promote.
It was usually not the high end English language that was the most credible, it was the language of the working class, because they, not the aristocrats were making the greatest sacrifice.
Like the Gulf oil spill, where pasty, aristocratic European men were saying "Of course we care about the small people." That was disastrous in terms of creating some level of public support. Then, what we saw was effective-- we saw employees who lived along the gulf coast and spoak in the dialects of the gulf coast and included people of color. They finally realized what Orwell called Demotic, the language of the people-- which, is, at it's soul, bottom up.

Rob: So, bottom up language is more effective for propaganda.

Back then, propaganda was positive and negative, but now, only positive.

if you use language powerfully to tell stories about the need for young childred to get vaccinated against communicable diseases, we don't have a word for that. Huxley called it rational language.
enslave rather than liberate.

I find myself repelled by leaders who try to manipulate me through emotional slogans or the terrible....

Career politician a phrase that exist advertisements that exist in print and the radio.

Sarah Palin, used word Refudiation-- called a malapropism or Neologism
actually helps her.

Obama has been caricatured as an elitist-- this idea if you use language well that you're somehow inauthentic, which has probably existed in american society since it's inception.

Those of us who depend on the first amendment to live and work, the only antidote to bad speech is good speech. the only antidote to vicious propaganda is not poisonous speech from the other end of the political spectrumn
write with reasonable, ness, responsive transparent for the public.

Article on CNN, about Stephen Colbert's testifying, in character, before congress.

Colbert coined word, "Truthiness" used to describe notion that there's no notion in fact based truth, that people are so dominated by ideology that their gut determines what is true.

Orwell, Huxley (brave new world) anthony Burgess (clockwork orange) explored connection between language abuse and political abuse.

Tabus-- uses F word in book, but never comes from him,
first encounter with it was in Catcher in the Rye-- character Holden Caulfield was so disgusted when he saw the word as graffiti...

It's more powerful and effective if you use it once in a story rather than multiple times. When it's used too often, when it's used promiscuously, I think the writer may not be able to convey a message beyond the shock value of that word.

poynter institute--

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