Whose Science? What Science?

I’m tired of people asking why those refusing a vaccine shot don’t believe “the science.”

What science? Whose science? And get that belief out of your system. Go to church if you want to believe. What we need these proponents to do is think.

Scientists disagree. Even Einstein’s special theory of relativity is just that: a theory. It’s not settled like the laws of motion or the laws of thermodynamics.

Covid-19 is so new and so evolving and so little studied that of course you are going to have scientists disagreeing.

So, whose science are you talking about?

In today’s politically charged times, conservatives and liberals are all choosing the science and scientists they want to, barf, believe.

I can turn up a different study and a different scientist every time you turn one up.

Why don’t I believe the science?

Because your implicit suggestion that there is only one science to follow makes me think you are an idiot.

Update: Someone commented that these proponents actually mean to say statistics. In that 90% to 95% of those in the hospital for Covid have not been vaccinated. That’s part of their “science.”

I understand that but can you see the fuzziness going on. People should say statistics when they mean statistics. This is life or death. Get precise. I’m not being pedantic as a writer. See what Orwell said below.

As for statistics regarding hospital stays, that does seem to be hard science. But I remember that early on that hospitals were marking down people as having Coivd even if they weren’t sure. It seemed best to them to more fully report than underreport.

Which gets to the old cliche, There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

“Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. The point is that the process is reversible. “ Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. ” [emphasis added]

Orwell, Politics and the English Language

art Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing by others

A Bot’s Answer to Pretentious Artist Statements

July 15, 2022 Update: Broken link to the generator should be working now. Apologies. Webmasters! Let me know when you change your URL’s, okay?

The online Oxford Living Dictionaries defines bollocks in this way:

Plural Noun

vulgar slang

1. The testicles.

2. (treated as singular ) Nonsense; rubbish (used to express contempt or disagreement, or as an exclamation of annoyance).

Solidy in keeping with the second use, the Artybollocks generator (external link) provides artist statements as understandable as many written by the artists themselves.

Each click of the button labeled “Generate some bollocks” descends further and further into the nonsense of describing modern art and their creators. Only this time a bot is creating the drivel, and not a real human. The generated content conforms squarely with what George Orwell wrote 72 years ago in Politics and The English Language. (internal link)

“In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning. Words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality, as used in art criticism, are strictly meaningless, in the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly ever expected to do so by the reader.”

Try the generator yourself. The following is the result of three clicks.

Artist Statement (first iteration)

My work explores the relationship between the body and romance tourism. With influences as diverse as Derrida and Joni Mitchell, new insights are manufactured from both traditional and modern meanings.

Ever since I was a student I have been fascinated by the traditional understanding of relationships. What starts out as vision soon becomes finessed into a dialectic of temptation, leaving only a sense of what could have been and the inevitability of a new reality.

As shifting replicas become distorted through frantic and critical practice, the viewer is left with an insight into the limits of our culture.

Artist Statement (second iteration)

My work explores the relationship between Pre-raphaelite tenets and emotional memories. With influences as diverse as Nietzsche and Frida Kahlo, new tensions are created from both mundane and transcendant meanings.

Ever since I was a pre-adolescent I have been fascinated by the endless oscillation of the moment. What starts out as triumph soon becomes manipulated into a cacophony of greed, leaving only a sense of failing and the dawn of a new beginning.

As intermittent derivatives become distorted through diligent and repetitive practice, the viewer is left with an epitaph for the darkness of our era.

Artist Statement (third iteration)

My work explores the relationship between Bauhausian sensibilities and vegetarian ethics.
With influences as diverse as Kierkegaard and Joni Mitchell, new combinations are synthesised from both simple and complex layers.

Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by the traditional understanding of relationships. What starts out as contemplation soon becomes manipulated into a hegemony of futility, leaving only a sense of chaos and the possibility of a new synthesis.

As momentary phenomena become frozen through diligent and repetitive practice, the viewer is left with an insight into the edges of our culture.


How do I Develop My Own Writing Style?

Your writing style develops naturally out of your experiences and preferences. I’m not sure you can use more adjectives, metaphors, or quotations than you would normally would without sounding pretentious or affected. Tom Robbins’ writing went off in spectacular tangents but that doesn’t mean your use will result in the same fireworks. And what are you writing about anyway?

You will obviously have more liberty to personalize with fiction. And if you have a large word count. Style must change with your audience: your editor and your readers. My newspaper article style is for a home-town weekly with a five hundred word limit. That’s not a large sandbox to play in. My magazine article style is more relaxed but still focused. Vigorous writing, no matter how many times we fail to do it, is always the goal. And the one writer who always wrote that way was George Orwell.

George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language (external link) remains, I think, the most important essay on thinking and writing well. A product of wartime Britain, it is not the easiest essay to read. Several years ago I put together an annotated version with my references to the many now obscure people and places that Orwell referenced. It’s at the link above and at other places.

Will you be able to write like Orwell if you follow his rules? Of course not. He was gifted and had a supreme dedication to his craft. His first novel, Down and Out in Paris and London, remains an accomplishment most of us could never achieve even with forty years of trying. Still, I think you will develop a workmanlike style if you practice what he preaches. And a workmanlike style, something that does not offend but informs, is a good style indeed.