Posted tagged ‘Roget’s thesaurus’

When good journalists walked the Earth

March 19, 2012

It’s been apparent for some time that the quality of journalism in this country has gone to the dogs. This could be blamed on a few factors, including laziness and drunkenness . Since the demise of the delightful, picturesque Sunday Sport there has been a lack of imagination in the press. As Bert Einstein said “imagination is more important than knowledge”. Standards have definitely slipped to the prehistoric era and reading some articles can be as infuriating as a stuck zip, and you can make that excruciating if it’s a stuck zip in the trouser department.

All journalists should have on hand a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus. This handy volume of synonyms can liven up the dullest prose by negating the use of repetition. How horrible would it be if you were writing a story about a smelly tramp and you referred to the individual as a smelly tramp throughout the tale. This would be the type of stale writing that would make the reader fall asleep like a smelly tramp with the paper in his lap.

The synonyms of smelly are bountiful: fetid, rank, reeking, putrid, stinking to name just five. Furthermore, the word smelly is food and drink for any self-respecting creator of neologisms. Underarmedfungied, socksmoking and brouffing (the “ou” spoken strongly as in cow) are just a few alternatives to the run of the mill smelly. I’m of the opinion that synonyms should be overused. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. That last line is from the fine wand of Ayn Rand.

Speaking to an elderly hack of the old school he ascertains that the depreciation of newsprint is down to the fact that they don’t use the ancient mechanical typewriters anymore. This contraption instilled discipline. He maintains that every writer loved the clickety-clack of the keys combined with the anticipation of the bell when they reached the end of the line. And the greatest pleasure of all was hurling the machine back to the left side with a handbrake ripping noise.
I was enjoying the interview until the old dinosaur illustrated the bad points of the typewriter.
“They don’t know they’re born. Today’s lot. In my day some typewriters had keys missing. Have you any idea how hard it is to write a story without having a, Y, for example? And losing a vowel was like losing a limb. Changing a roller was-”
He was banging out words twenty to the dozen. I left him there.