Miles Klee ’07 on is now a contributor at fancy elite blog The Awl (one of my very favorite blogs on the internet! Add it to your daily reading list now!). His first article was The Oscars are Next Week and Nope, I Still Haven’t Seen ‘Avatar’ and his most recent is The Five Kinds of Appeal to Authority You Meet on the Internet, which covers such tropes as:

  • The Misappropriated Founder
  • The Overwhelming Fan Consensus
  • The Borrowed Moral Imperative
  • The Untouchable Artistic Gospel
  • The Useful Tautology
  • I particularly liked the bit on the artistic gospel:

    AKA The Strunk & White. There are plenty of tips out there for being a good stand-up comedian, or painter, or musician. Most help the aspirant to hem in that paralyzing freedom, lay a groundwork of productive habit and then to polish middling material. Most do not pretend to be a priori truths, except those provided by Robert McKee. Still, the essence of creativity is not to be strictly bound by prescriptive ideals, right? Wrong. Here comes a New York Times user comment deploring an article’s split infinitives, immune to the fact that this is an artificial solecism cooked up by prudish Latin-lovers centuries ago to suppress an evolving English vernacular. Here comes Chuck Klosterman to inform us that F. Scott Fitzgerald would disapprove of the exclamation points peppering our interspace, because I guess an alcoholic crack-up artist I read in ninth grade should get the final say on web 2.0. What Klosterman can’t bring up is how Kurt Vonnegut gravely insulted the semi-colon; I myself could do without periods. Buried titans have plenty to teach us about aesthetic and craft, and tower with influence besides—must we be shackled by their pet peeves as well?

    Few internet arguments please me more than setting straight people who’ve read (or misread) Strunk & White and other prescriptivist poppycock.

    Read the whole thing

    (thanks to Brandi for the tip)

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