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I am pretentious, pompous, and a bit of an ass

The Baltimore Sun

And so are you, for reading here.

The verdict is in from a reader who chose not to offer a name. Writing about the cautions against the holiday cliches (No, not this year's cautions, but last year's), Anonymous said: 

I find this article, and its message, to be written by a pretentious writer/editor for other pretentious writer/editors. Ninety-nine percent of the public are not bothered by the seasonal clichés you find so tiresome. There is a reason Hallmark makes hundreds of millions and editors do not. Maybe your assumption of knowing better than your customers (and saving them from themselves), is also a reason that television is booming and newspapers are dying.*

I would have thought that formulaic writing and the repetition of cliches would go a long way toward discouraging readers. The people whom I am trying to save from themselves are writers.

All you have to do to see the flatness and flabbiness I've identified is to look at the scores of advertisements that use " 'Tis the season."  

The charge of elitism, itself a stock response, is easy to throw around, but the effort to foster some degree of originality and freshness (while discouraging the obvious and shopworn) in writing for a broad audience deserves more thoughtful attention. To put it in the broadcast terms that appear to be Anonymous's frame of reference, do the existence and popularity of, say, Two and a Half Men mean that it is misguided to produce Modern Family



* I did attempt to establish some solidarity with Anonymous, remarking that we appear to be in fundamental agreement about the success of television: "Some readers (and, sadly, some writers) lap up this swill. It is familiar, and the complete lack of originality comforts them. It is for such people that television exists."


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