24 December 2004

Filling in for me

I must take Mr Orwell's help in saying what I wanted to say. He said it in 1946 in an essay entitled Politics and the English Language. I will come back to this later, if I can. Right now my mind's resisting production. But here's Mr Orwell taking over:

I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

I am sure you would have come across such ludicrous shit-pieces. As a cub reporter, I loved to demolish edits by the assistant editor of one of the leading dailies of Bangalore. That's why sometimes I cant help smiling a little when I hear youngsters being asked to read newspapers to improve their English. That's where the trouble starts, sigh.

7 comments:

Sham said...

damn..this did not work for me. i understood the 'modern english of the worst sort' better than the good english paragraph

Vijayalaxmi said...

Oh no.

Ubermensch said...

here is teh post modern english of worst type:
have nice weekend dude!

Vijayalaxmi said...

Yeah ;) Want to have your cake and eat it too?

Sham said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sham said...

I commented earlier that I UNDERSTOOD the second one better. I modify it now. I LIKE the second one better. (this is about the role of chances in success and not the dude or the cake )

What I see is crystal clear clarity not visible in the first paragraph. I agree its very easy to fake it though.

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