Joseph Devlin’s book from 1910, How to Speak and Write Correctly, is like many similar books in that much of its advice still has relevance and is still ignored by (or unknown to) many people who describe themselves as writers or work as writers but are not worthy of the term except in the most literal sense.
“Don’t imagine that a college education is necessary to success as a writer. Far from it. Some of our college men are dead-heads, drones, parasites on the body social, not alone useless to the world but to themselves. A person may be so ornamental that he is valueless from any other standpoint. As a general rule ornamental things serve but little purpose. A man may know so much of everything that he knows little of anything… Cant is the language of a certain class — the peculiar phraseology or dialect of a certain craft, trade or profession, and is not readily understood save by the initiated of such craft, trade or profession. It may be correct, according to the rules of grammar, but it is not universal; it is confined to certain parts and localities and is only intelligible to those for whom it is intended… Words of “learned length and thundering sound” should be avoided on all possible occasions. They proclaim shallowness of intellect and vanity of mind.”
Thanks to my colleague Dany Louise for pointing out this great article by Sola Agustsson at Alternet: Why the Contemporary Art World Is Insufferable, Corrupted by the Super-Rich. Spoilers:
- Art collectors treat art as an investment.
- Art is a spectacle.
- Conceptual art is a joke.
- Art factories steal souls.
- Art school is kind of a scam.
- Women artists and artists of colo(u)r are sidelined.
- Money for art in public schools is dwindling (the USA kind, i.e publicly funded, not private schools)
Agustsson is absolutely bang on with every one of these points and I know a lot of the Career Suicide Squad will agree too; read the article.
THREE QUOTES FROM BRUNO MUNARI, ‘DESIGN AS ART’, 1966 (ON SUBJECTS THAT STILL HAVEN’T BEEN SORTED OUT BY THE ART WORLD FIFTY YEARS LATER)
“It must be understood that as long as art stands aside from the problems of life it will only interest a very few people… The artist must cast off the last rags of romanticism and become active as a man among men*, well up in present day techniques, materials and working methods.”
* Obviously this applies to women as well, and I don’t endorse automatic 1960s sexism.
“When a lot of money comes along before culture arrives, we get the phenomenon of the gold telephone.”
“A thing is not beautiful because it is beautiful, as the frog said to the she-frog, it is beautiful because one likes it.”