Friday, 31 October 2008

The Article I've Been Looking Forward To Reading All Week

Paragraph two of the article I've been looking forward to reading all week:
"For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption [in the eyes of the world]. Now America has to choose between them. The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly ..."
A few more choice excerpts:
"McCain has bravely taken unpopular positions – for free trade, immigration reform, the surge in Iraq, tackling climate change and campaign-finance reform. A western Republican in the Reagan mould, he has a long record of working with both Democrats and America's allies.

If only the real John McCain had been running."

"Most of the hoopla about [Obama] has been about what he is, rather than what he would do."

"There is no getting around the fact that Mr Obama's resume is thin ... [but] a man who started with no money and few supporters has out-thought, out-organised and out-fought the two mightiest machines in American politics – the Clintons and the conservative right."
And the concluding paragraph:
"[In some ways] Mr Obama is a gamble. But the same goes for Mr McCain on at least as many counts, not least the possibility of President Palin. And this cannot be another election where the choice is based merely on fear. In terms of painting a brighter future for America and the world, Mr Obama has produced the more compelling and detailed portrait. He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent. Whether he can fulfil his immense potential remains to be seen. But Mr Obama deserves the presidency."
Now, some people probably misconceive The Economist, taking it to be a dry, overly intellectual, stats-heavy sort of publication for CEOs and MBAs.

(Er, okay, so I guess it probably is for CEOs and MBAs, to quite some degree. Oh well.)

... But, actually, it's an extremely readable, highly intelligent newspaper. In the opinion of the Intellectual Hooligan. And its writers have a pretty good grasp of (a) humour, (b) drama and (c) iconography. (On that last, just take a look at the front cover:)

And, somehow, reading its editorial pieces reminds me of being in a tutorial. The tone of the writing is authoritative and direct, yet 'human' and unclouded by pompous phraseology or obscure jargon. Proof – once again – that the people most worth listening to/reading are the ones who aren't afraid to make the effort to express themselves simply, concisely and clearly, rather than relying upon a 'scholarly' vocabulary and otiose writing style to create an aura of false intelligence.

To anybody who is interested in the craft of writing, or whose job involves the same, I heartily recommend The Economist's style guide. Spot on. And funny, too.

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