>

8/2/10

Zen and the Art of Writing

Quality cannot be defined but you know what it is...

"Another thing that depressed him was prescriptive rhetoric, which supposedly had been done away with but was still around. This was the old slap-on-the-fingers-if your-modifiers-were-caught-dangling stuff. Correct spelling, correct punctuation, correct grammar. Hundreds of itsy-bitsy rules for itsy-bitsy people. No one could remember all that stuff and concentrate on what he was trying to write about. It was all table manners, not derived from any sense of kindness or decency or humanity, but originally from an egotistic desire to look like gentlemen and ladies. Gentlemen and ladies had good table manners and spoke and wrote grammatically. It was what identified on with the upper classes.


In Montana, however, it didn't have this effect at all. It identified one, instead, as a stuck-up Eastern ass."


from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
Part II, Chapter 15 
copyright 1974, 1999