Saturday, October 05, 2013

Reading dr Johnson

I was looking for a quote I've heard repeated numberless times. It goes something like this: "No one but a blockhead ever writes for anything but money"--no, no, that's not it "Only a fool would write except for money"--also wrong, wrong, wrong. But anyway you want to put it, it does not sound right. Dr Johnson put it much better--, If he did, I can't find it. And I'm not going to go through his books, or read Boswell from cover to cover. The Internet exists to answer questions like that. Or else why did Al Gore bother to invent it? I found a few other quotes which are just as good if not better.The quotation, recorded by Boswell in his book, A Tour to the Hebrides, and again in the great biography, goes on: “. . . for being in a ship is being in jail, with the chance of being drowned . . . a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company.” This is what I tell my cousin who wants me to go on a cruise, anyway. All this is leading up to an apology, or justification, for the many faults of my blogging. I don't revise much, because I'm not getting paid. When I write for publication, I spend more time revising or searching for the mot juste, because someone is paying me. When I am blogging, I try to avoid egregious mistakes and to use correct spelling and punctuation, but that's all. This stuff is ephemeral, after all. My greatest hits are about English towns with silly names or Mercedes Benz being the car favored by dictators. How important could that be?

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