The Georges Say Cut the Crap and Write Better

In his 1946 essay, George Orwell warned us that inflated prose can muddy our writing so badly its meaning becomes vague. Pretentious diction, it seems, serves no other purpose than to make the writer appear more important and knowledgeable.

The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing.

Another George, the legendary George Carlin, didn’t need a lengthy essay to express the same concern. Filled with Carlin’s typical charm and wit, this hilarious performance is guaranteed to both educate and entertain:

As a final note, considering the current state of humanity, I think we could use more people like both Georges.

That is all.

12 thoughts on “The Georges Say Cut the Crap and Write Better

  1. I really enjoyed this post. However, it’s really set my busy mind to thinking. I re-read some of my posts. I entered thoughts, stories about my past and present, traditions, feelings etc. I know with certainty, there are individuals here with so much talent, and I hope I’m learning from them. It made me re-evaluate the content of my writing. Thanks for that, another step in my growth. Blessings on your day.

  2. An inspiring post – thank you. As with most things writing style has changed over the decades through fashion or commercial pressure but when something is written well it is still a treasure. I have linked it to my post today – if you are OK with that…?

    • Hi Mandy. Thank you so much for reading. You’re right, writing style has changed but I’m still amazed that essays written by writers of old—such as George Orwell and Virginia Woolf—are still relevant today.

      Of course you’re more than welcome to link it to your post! Thank you.

  3. Pingback: Two for the ‘Post’ of One…! | Mandyevebarnett's Blog

  4. Prose, like poetry, should be minimalist. Don’t write a word more or less than you need to. Orwell was a master of this- try reading his early essay on shooting an elephant- it’s complex, multi-layered- and writen in a taut, precise style.

    • Thanks for reading and the suggestion. My goal is to read everything Orwell has written, so it’s on my list.

      I definitely agree. Every writer should aim for precision, even though it’s a difficult thing to do. All great writers advise us to simplify, so perhaps we should listen.

  5. I agree with both Georges. How you write matters. I know I have been turned off of a book or article when the pages began to fill up with unnecessary content.

    I am learning every day, hoping to perfect my writing so that people will read and enjoy it. This post has inspired me to try a little harder.

    Thanks for that. 🙂

  6. Hi, thanks for introducing yourself by following our site. (We hope you’ll visit and like the RAXA Collective facebook page too.) Hats off to the Georges! And both Lewis Carol and Dr. Seuss had it right about “saying what you mean and meaning what you say”. And if you’re looking for some off the beaten track Orwell, try “Down and Out in London and Paris”, and autobiographical work published in 1933. Fantastic!

    • Hats off! Thanks for dropping by. I have read “Down and Out”, actually, and I loved it! While other writers of the era focused on the grandeur of Paris, Orwell went in the opposite direction. It’s a great book.

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