Might I respectfully suggest something like:
Rob McGee

Thanks for the style tip, but ….

You quoted this excerpt from my article:

As this ludicrous article by race-baiter Seren Sensei that criticizes director Sofia Coppola for not having black people in her recent film illustrates

And then suggested this stylistic emendation:

Might I respectfully suggest something like:
As race-baiter Seren Sensei illustrates in a ludicrous article that criticizes director Sofia Coppola for not having black people in her recent film…
This sounds a little bit better because the main verb illustrates is not miles and miles away from the subject. (See Twain’s essay “The Awful German Language.”)

But your proposed change has made a bit of a mess of my message. Putting the verb where you’d suggest putting it would result in my saying that Seren Sensei is directly illustrating something, but she’s not illustrating anything. She’s far too reactive and mindless to illustrate anything coherent. What I’m saying is that it’s her article that’s (inadvertently) illustrating something. And I think most intelligent people can easily read the sentence the way I’ve written it and have no trouble following its logic.

More generally, I’m not a big fan of style guides. Every single one I’ve read, while good for people who stumble over their words and have a hard time stringing sentences together, is actually something of straitjacket for skilled writers. I do pride myself on my writing. I’m not going to start bragging or go listing my credentials in that regard, but I do happen to have more than a few (published fiction, poetry and essays in well-regarded journals, etc.). So, while I’m certainly not above being edited (especially when I’m dashing off rushed posts like this on Medium), I’m generally cognizant of what I’m doing when I’m organizing my thoughts into sentences.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Traditional Tradesman’s story.