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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Wednesday, April 11

Passive Voice & Romney/Obama

This comes from one of the bad ass characters in James Lee Burke’s Feast Day of Fools: “Passive voice involves sentence structure that hides the identity of the doer. It’s a form of linguistic deception. Pronouns that have no referents are also used to confuse and conceal. A linguist can spot a lie faster than any polygraph can.” I’d never thought of it that way. I knew the passive voice was weak, but I’d never thought of it as deceptive. Just to be sure we’re on the same page, in the active voice, the subject is the one doing the action of the verb: “That man stole forty dollars.” In the passive voice, the subject is the receiver of the action, the doer is either unnamed or is hidden in a prepositional phrase right after the verb: “Forty dollars was stolen from the church fund.” Or, “Forty dollars was stolen from the church fund by a man who had broken in during the night.” It’s a weak and deceptive way of writing, sort of sidestepping responsibility for some action. Any time you see a news story using passive voice, ask yourself why they’re doing it or what they’re hiding. “Seventeen school children were killed when their bus was struck on Hwy 10 this afternoon.” The seventeen schoolchildren were the ones stricken, but we don’t get a hint about who did the striking. Enough of sentence structure and deception. Let's look at political deception.

The GOP race to see who will run against Obama is now nearly over. Rick Santorum dropped out, leaving only Newt Gingrich to battle Mitt Romney. Therefore, Romney is the unofficial chosen one, but that will soon become official. And then we can look forward to the slings and arrows of Romney and Obama, slinging mud and shooting arrows at each other’s records and past statements. I’ve said all along that if the economy gets no worse than it is now and unemployment doesn’t start climbing again, Obama will defeat Romney in November. Nearly all the conservative Republicans are dissatisfied with him, but they have only themselves to blame. This should be an interesting seven months.

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