Fri 13th March 2009, 8:17pm
QUOTE(Moulton @ Fri 13th March 2009, 8:01am)
And one more comment...
QUOTE(Andrej Starkis @ Assistant Professor of Law at Massachusetts School of Law)
The naysayers are wrong
As a fellow who teaches writing to would-be lawyers, I commend you. Most of the students I see don't understand -- because they've never been taught -- that writing is at its core a form of communication, not a form of expression. At most, they've heard about the "audience" (a terrible, misleading word that ought to be exiled to stand-up-only use). What that word conjures up for them is anyone's guess, but it's certainly not human.
Comment: What an odd sentiment from an "academic"! Perhaps English is not this guy's native language? Writing must always be a form of communication to be effective, of course, but what the "effect" is
, depends on the purpose of the writing. It might be expository, for entertainment/art, or it may be rhetorical (to convince). There is more "expression" involved in the latter two, to be sure, but expression is always present in any writing, and is a subset of communication, not something that stands in opposition to it.
is this guy's objection to the word "audience," especially as a lawyer? Even technical writers speak of audience analysis as a key. Perhaps this lawyer guy is never going to sully himself with trials or appeals and thus will never have the need to convince anybody freely of anything. To be sure, one can use the neutral word "readership", but it lacks something essential, which is that an audience
, as is the case with normal public speaking, carries with it the idea of a group of people that you need to continuously convince to free pay attention to you. If they lose interest, wander off, eyes glaze over and shut the book on your screed in the middle, you fail
at your primary purpose of communication. If they're not students (perhaps this boob's real problem) you have no way to punish them for that. Instead, when they lose interest in your writing, they essentially punish YOU. Perhaps that's the inhuman thought that benightmares him.
Sorry, Assistant Prof Starkis, but Lord Acton had it right. "Knowledge must be adorned: It must have luster as well as weight, lest it be mistaken for lead instead of gold." Stand-up is HARD.