Friday, June 26, 2015

Antonin Scalia, writing coach

What's the lone bright sunbeam of the day over at The Daily Caller?

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution recognizes same-sex marriage, but Justice Antonin Scalia spun up a scorching dissenting opinion lambasting the court for its decision.

“The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic,” Scalia wrote.

Good to know we've got an editor on the case -- especially the since it's the editor who just this week single-handedly restored "jiggery-pokery" to its rightful place in the American vernacular. And the one who, in the same dissent, puts the apostrophe back in "o'erweening." And who, modestly reminding his audience that he went to Harvard, isn't interested in how they do things over at Cornell:

I join the Chief Justice's dissent in full. I write separately to call attention to this Court's threat to American democracy. ("Do not overstate. When you overstate, readers will be instantly on guard, and everything that has preceded your overstatement as well as everything that follows it will be suspect in their minds because they have lost confidence in your judgment or your poise.")

Huh? ... What say? ("Do not affect a breezy manner. ... 'Spontaneous me,' sang Whitman, and, in his innocence, let loose the hordes of uninspired scribblers who would one day confuse spontaneity with genius. The breezy style is often the work of an egocentric, the person who imagines that everything that comes to mind is of general interest and that uninhibited prose creates high spirits and carries the day.")

But that risks getting ahead of the hippie joke, which really hit the style button at TDC:

He went on, his style* some of the most inflammatory we’ve seen from the court.

“‘The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality.’ (Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie.”

Uh ... groovy. But for some reason, The Daily Caller omits the following line:

Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands, what one can prudently say.

Two things. One, "The Honeymooners" was not a documentary. Two, from the vantage point of a "long-lasting marriage": Ur doin it wrong.

* OK, one more quote from the masters:

"He's supposed to have a particularly high-class style: 'Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole' ... would that be it?"

"Yes," said the Managing Editor. "That must be good style."


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