Empathy And Emphasis, or, Solecism Of The Day

I remember from the distant — increasingly distant – past a classroom scene in which a classmate, assigned to deliver a brief presentation on one of the elements of effective writing, went on and on about something she clearly believed was known as “emphatic appeal.” I cringed for some abstract ideal of literacy, comprehension, intellectual acuity. I importuned the goddess Sarasvati and the mighty Athene. How could people two years older than I was (the typical age of my classmates) be so fucking stupid?

Fast forward: here I am reading a book intended for people who have had shitty parents, because someone I love has pretty shitty parents and is currently locked up in a Mental Warehouse For Kids Whose Parents Can’t Be Bothered, and here is the copyedit fail of the day: “Remember you don’t have to remain in the same state you were as a child, when your destructive… parent was… unemphatic and insensitive”.

Repeated several times throughout the book.

Well, you know what I mean, right? said the idiots of my youth. And I said No. I don’t. If you can’t use the right word, then I don’t know what you mean. At the very least, you can’t expect me to.

They are clearly now working for major publishers.

I hate stupid. Almost as much as I hate shitty parents.

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8 thoughts on “Empathy And Emphasis, or, Solecism Of The Day

    • My late and ex, a baseball fan to the marrow of his bones, regaled me often with Yogi-isms. They had the redeeming virtue of Zen-like charm: “Many people my age are dead at the present time,” or “I didn’t say everything that I said.” And “You can observe a lot by watching.” Sherlock Holmes would have approved of that one.

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