irony, etc.

Sam Pawlett rsp at
Fri Nov 19 00:30:28 MST 1999

Michael Yates wrote:
  So does the radical writer, one who
> desires a transformation of the social order, have any special
> obligation to write in manner which would make it difficult to be
> misunderstood, especially about a subject critical to those actually
> living in the ghettoes?  Some students said yes and some no. What do you
> think?

  I think the task of the radical writer is to explain things as simply
and fully as possible to an audience who are in position to do something
about it. Irony, satire etc. are great if you're sure that the intended
audience will understand it.If one is trying to reach as many people as
possible, then it seems to me that speaking  simply and clearly  would
be the best way to go. This doesn't mean 'dumbing down' but mastering
the art of explaining difficult ideas in basic language. You may not be
able to wax poetic or ironic that often but are ensured of maximal
political effect. If you can do it with good natured humor, that goes a
long way to. For academic oriented writers  one of the hardest things I
think would be relating to things one is writing about.
 You can theorize about power all you want but when you experience it,
you have an excellent idea of what it is.
  There is an old radical slogan "speak truth to power." This is a waste
of time. Power already knows the truth. It should be "speak truth to
those care and are in position to change it."

Sam Pawlett

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