I’m not sure I agree. I mean, you’re right. If you want your message to be received by the masses, the. Simple language is best. But that’s not always the goal. I was reading to my kids the other night and one book (and far too many books do this) used really simple language and short sentences. As a reader this gets annoying and makes the story uninteresting. This other book we read was fantastic. It’s a story about a farmer who finds a cat and takes care of it — normal children’s book stuff. But the language in it was phenomenal. It was a combination of colloquialisms and sophisticated language that would go right over kids’ heads. It was a delight to read because it was engaging and filled with so much personality.
Literature, I believe, should elevate the reader. The recent surge in popularity of young adult fiction, by people in their 20s and 30s and even 40s is weird. Not that Harry Potter is bad, but perhaps it to some degree, but certainly many of its copycats have distilled prose down for the youngest of readers and lowest of comprehension levels. I’m not saying everything should be difficult to read, but words should inspire our imagination, our creativity, and our intellect. Randall Monroe takes complex concepts and makes them digestible. He’s entertaining, and fulfills the goal of teaching the reader something in a way that is informative and hilarious. But in literature, oftentimes the goal should be to take something simple and turn it into a profound, complex, though-provoking idea.
Maybe the idea is that complex ideas should be made more simple to encourage understanding. But that simple ideas, observations, and descriptions can come alive when treated with some of the richness language can bring.