Sunday, June 5, 2016

opinion | Security through obscurity: hiding the unpleasant through bad writing

Verbal camouflage.

In his aptly named seminal book, “On Writing Well,” William Zinsser extolls the virtues of simplified, well-crafted prose. He crusades against the cloudy and the obtuse, which is used to both hide inadequacies and inflate the importance of people in power. “Clutter,” he writes, “is the disease of American writing.”

The State of New York might want to see a doctor.

This gem of a paragraph was found while researching this article, pulled from a state order regarding nuclear power subsidies.

“I concur only to the extent of agreeing to initiate this new aspect of the proceeding to open the dialogue on this issue and does not indicate I have made a determination one way or the
other with respect to the substantive outcome on the future actions on this matter or any other related matters.”

It’s grammatically sound. It’s definitely English.

And it’s completely unintelligible.

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