Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Singing Praise

blog: Zinsser says it's hard to praise things (194) well. Why do you think that could be true?

It's hard to do anything well--praise or criticize. I think it's especially hard to praise well because people are less inclined (or people like me, anyhow) to believe good things than bad things; irony and negativity are easy defaults. Also, when praising, it's easy to fall to the cliches and superlatives that tell the readers but little. And praising is hard because our reasons for liking things can be so personal that to adequately explain our pleasures becomes difficult, either because we're holding back or because we're not. I think what can be truly said is that criticism and praise are somewhat alike as far as what makes them effective and what does not. Of course it's easier to make something bad than good, so it's easier to point out faults than point out excellencies. In the end, though, I always care more about what people like than what they don’t like.

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