Sunday, February 4, 2007

On the nature of the blog essay: an introduction

In his penultimate year at school (then at the top end of Harcourt Street, since you ask), Malcolm was introduced, courtesy of the Irish Leaving Certificate course, to the classic English essay. This (unlike so much of his schooling) became lasting learning. Hence, his casual familiarity with models of belles-lettres from Francis Bacon to Carl Hiaasen.

And, Heaven help us, presumably prompted these effusions.

So be it; but Malcolm notices how this need to blog causes the blogger to suffer the pique of constant curiosity. In that respect, of motivation, Malcolm is a Man of La Mancha:
In short, his wits being quite gone, he hit upon the strangest notion that ever madman in this world hit upon, and that was that he fancied it was right and requisite, as well for the support of his own honour as for the service of his country, that he should make a knight-errant of himself, roaming the world over in full armour and on horseback in quest of adventures, and putting in practice himself all that he had read of as being the usual practices of knights-errant; righting every kind of wrong, and exposing himself to peril and danger from which, in the issue, he was to reap eternal renown and fame.
So, in the last while, Malcolm has found himself deliberating variously on:
  • the nature of "Britishness" and how this can be "taught";
  • his appreciation (if any) of cinema;
  • the sad loss of Molly Ivins;
  • the glories of the paper ballot;
  • why there is a reader of this diatribe in Denver, CO;
  • if Sinn Féin can accept PSNI, and can fully participate in the Northern Irish Assembly, how long before they compensate for "the democratic representational and consultative deficit" caused by being "denied access to a parliamentary forum"; do a Dev (it's like doing a Delia, but without the apron); take the oath, and turn up at Westminster;
  • and why Brian Coleman, Tory member of the London Assembly (a) is so annoying; and (b) whether he more resembles Tenniel's or Arthur Rackham's version of Alice's Caterpillar.
Any, or all of these will doubtless provide Malcolm will future windmills against which to tilt.

Thomas de Quincey, in his Autobiography, wrote:
The two capital secrets in the art of prose composition are these; first, the philosophy of transition, or the art by which one step in an evolution of thought is made to arise out of another: all fluent and effective composition depends on the connexions: secondly, the way in which sentences are made to modify each other; for the most powerful effects in written eloquence arise out of this reverberation, as it were, from each other in a rapid succession of sentences: and, because some limitation is necessary to the length and complexity of sentences, in order to make this interdependency felt; hence it is that the Germans have no eloquence.
539 words: one "sentence". Transition and connexion. Er, yes, Tom, don't call us: we'll call you. That's as penetrable as gruesome Gerry Healy at his worst.

Meanwhile, Malcolm will stick to Molly, or Carl or Tom Wolfe. Or Chris Hitchens, or Simon Jenkins, or .... almost anyone (Ann Coulter excepted, naturally). Sphere: Related Content


yourcousin said...

Being that I'm too lazy to actually blog something myself today I think extrapolate as to why you have a reader in Denver, Colorado.

As is stated in my first blog entry I'm a political junky. As such I'm a regular visitor to Slugger O'Toole. After Mick had given you the hat tip for the correspondence between Ian Jr. and Kenny McClinton I decided to check out your blog.

I enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) your tri-national emphasis and various blogs. I agree (roughly) with many of your blog entries and find the use of your (schitzophrenic?) alter ego to be an enjoyable crux (ie you din't take yourself too seriously).

Okay a quick note here. Being as I don't sit at a computer screen all day I have a limited ability in regards to my typing. So please forgive any typos or any of the other numerous gramatical (and spelling) errors which will prevade my posts.

I commented to your Hillary post on a whim and for some reason have felt the need to explain myself ever sense then. So there you have

yourcousin said...

Son of a bitch. Not being that literate at typing is one thing, but coming off like an illiterate West Virginian is another. I swear not only can I spell (under normal circumstances) but I can come across as a semi-literate individual. Well at least when I hang out with bikers and other construction workers.

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