Sunday, April 5, 2009

As you wrestle, watch your words

One of my school-mates from Mumbai and now in Tokyo, Vivek Pinto, regularly sends me links that may be useful to my students. Henceforth, I will include themin my column. Here are two articles about John Hope Franklin, the black historian, who died on 25 March 2009 at the age of 94, having reshaped the scholarship of the Jim Crow South and given birth to African-American history with books such as “From Slavery to Freedom,” “The Militant South, 1800-1860” and his ground-breaking work on free Negroes.

See Editorial “John Hope Franklin,” The New York Times, Brent Staples, 26 March 2009 and “John Hope Franklin, Scholar and Witness ," Peter Applebome, The New York Times, 28 March 2009.

In our search for excellence as professionals, we “wrestle” with troublesome problems. Here is a helpful article: “Words to Watch," by Philip B. Corbett, The New York Times, 1 April 2009. I am including this link at Vivek Pinto’s suggestion because my students may also benefit.

“After Deadline” examines questions of grammar, usage and style encountered by writers and editors at the NYT. It is adapted from a weekly newsroom critique, overseen by Philip B. Corbett, the deputy news editor who is also in charge of the NYT style manual. Corbett says, “The goal is not to chastise, but to point out recurring problems and suggest solutions.”

Please respond with your suggestions, questions and doubts. Above all, I welcome disagreements with the words of Voltaire: “I disagree with every word you say. But I shall defend to my death your right to say it.” Last week’s column, “No! No!” to Nano” stirred strong emotions and stronger language. Keep it coming.

Your support is my strength,
- Joe.

Pune, Sunday, 5 April 2009.

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