Monday, October 1, 2012


I have never formally learned editing; and perhaps it shows! I hope not. I like to think that that one doesn’t need to be officially credentialed for everything. And I note that having a qualification in writing does not necessarily mean you can write. True, you may know grammar and punctuation, and even have a large vocabulary, but such knowledge does not necessarily mean that you can construct an entertaining paragraph. A credential does not a writer make.

I hold to the view that all writing, even if formal and written for business purposes, needs to be entertaining. Why so? Well, people tune out if the writing is dull. I had better add that more than a few business people think I am utterly wrong in that regard. They think business is far too important to allow such elements as style and humor to get in the way. The military have much the same view.

The U.S. Army holds to the view that the best way to communicate is by way of Powerpoint; and a not insignificant percentage of the senior fighting strength is dedicated to the task of preparing PowerPoint presentations. Many of these are incomprehensible, but since no senior office wants to admit in public that he doesn’t understand, incomprehensibility doesn’t matter.

You probably thing I am exaggerating. Actually, I’m not. Well, only a little. A retired Army colonel friend of mine, who worked directly for the Amy Chief of Staff, used to comment that that many generals understood only the bullet points; bur rarely the contents. He didn’t mean the issues. He literally meant the enlarged dots themselves.

Maybe we shouldn’t go to war so much.


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