Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All I can say is: "Amen."

If there's one affectation in writing that makes me insane it's the lack of quotation marks. Really, there's just no excuse for this. Nice article on the topic by Laura Miller over at Salon.

Choice paragraph:
Perhaps the most famous shunner of quotation marks is the novelist Cormac McCarthy, who told Oprah Winfrey that he preferred not to "block the page up with weird little marks. If you write properly, you shouldn't have to punctuate." (McCarthy also disdains the semicolon. And it should be added that the 18th century's most revered English stylist, Samuel Johnson, boasted of writing so cogently he never had to resort to parentheses.) There is a hauteur to such pronouncements; they amount to an assertion of the speaker's superiority. Lesser writers might have to resort to cluttering their prose with "weird little marks," but not a master such as moi.

This is why I have never read Cormac McCarthy and most probably never will.


Mark said...

N qutatin marks? That's just flish. Nw, persnally, I dn't use the letter between n and p anymre. But, c'mn, if yu write prperly, yu shuldn't have t.

Jim Donahue said...

That I have no trouble reading. Go figure.

punkinsmom said...

He won't use quotation marks, but he'll appear on Oprah? And we're supposed to take him seriously? Panderer. said...

George Orwell once wrote a novel with no semicolons, except that he screwed up and left three of them in.

ChefNick said...

Actually, I've (for some reason) recently been reading mid-20th-century writers such as William Shirer and it's amazing how many turgid sentences they get into -- rife with semi-colons. Word after word, comma after comma, semi-colonic punctuation after another.

You actually have to go back and read the beginning of the sentence to parse what the hell they were talking about in the first place.

Ahh, just chalk it up to a 21st-century short-attention span.

Posol'stvo the Medved said...

Cormac McCarthy may be, as you say, affected.

But damn, the fellow has been published. And they keep selling his stuff.

So for those keeping track at home, that's Cormac McCarthy (who eschews quotation marks): 2, Posol'stvo (who chooses to block up his page with all manner of punctuation, including quotes, semicolons, and parentheses): 0.