Author’s Note: I’m currently in the process of migrating old blog posts to this new system. That may mean some links, syntax highlighting, and other details are broken or missing temporarily. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Ahem. Ahem, ahem, ahem, ahem. I've noticed something interesting in that whenever I go back and read things I've written, I can usually lop off the first two paragraphs.
The same is true when editing a video. Generally, tThe first few clips can be removed quite easily without changing the content of whatever I’m trying to get across saying. And I must confess, I always feel a bit embarassed when going back and seeing at just how much “filler” winds up in my content.
You’d think that eventually, I’d start to catch on to these habits. I’d notice the various “tics” that worm their way into my work, and avoid them in the future. But that hasn’t been the case.
It’s the damned schools!
The explanation that immediately leaps to mind is our educational system. It’s easy to call to mind the memories of teachers assigning a “four-page essay”, as if its four-pagedness were its most salient attribute.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Copy. Paste. Copy. Paste. C+
We’d play with the margins and the fonts, and learn to make the most lengthy and obscure of lexical and grammatical choices with an eye toward ensuring that it could never be said that — irrespective of any potential evaluation of its semantic content (an evaluation, which, it may be said, was not always thorough, teachers having quite a bit to review, of course) — our essay was anything less than that which typified the aforementioned important and salient quality; that it was, irrefutably, and beyond all possible doubt, four pages.
Despite the lack of emphasis on pithy content though, I don’t think the fault lies in our education.
It’s not the damned schools?
I think instead, it’s a matter of deference, of hedging. That I’m unwilling to insist on my point right away, and would rather try to slowly meander the reader/viewer around to my side. I’m trying to get across that this is simply my opinion, and it’s held losely, and you’re free to disagree. I could be wrong. Who’s to say? I think it feels more reasonable, and more polite.
Of course, it is neither of these things. The incessant “I feel…”, “I think…” merely intrudes upon the message with the narcissistic reminder that “I, dear reader, have laid down this text for you.” What is intended as deference instead merely contrives to “otherize”, which is neither polite, nor reasonable.
To say nothing of the lack of respect it shows for your time. How many minutes are spent riding long trains of sentences between sparse and unpopulated points? The padding merely extends your commute, and we’ve all got places to be.