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Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Dish

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 31 May 2011, 17:11

Andrew Sullivan, I learnt as an undergraduate, would make copies of the letters he sent to people. An Oxford Union Debating Society President, Modern History First, and actor ... It struck me as extraordinarily vain. This is 1981-1984. Letters were handwritten in fountain pen, perhaps typed.

Was I jealous? Of his mind? The roles he got? His self-confidence? A speaker who followed on the heals of William Hague (Foreign Minister) and was followed by Hilali Nordeen (Harley Street surgeon).

I recall them as I guiltily do something similar - I lift a comment I have left in someone else's blog and put it here. The catalyst of the first reading is left high and dry as I bounce away from them, back into my own mind, then spill it all out here.

THe mind is a wonderful thing, if only your fingers can keep up with this. No wonder this is described as 'talking with your fingertips',

Fascinating! And so glad I scrolled all the way through your blog to find such riches. I could spend an hour here commenting on each entry. Perhaps I will. It is extraordinarily cathartic to be out of your own head (as it were) for a while ... to be inside someone elses.

I was saying to a fellow MAODE student that I was pleased that they had  struggled with applying Jakob Nielsen to some online text they had read. I've been singing his praises for too long. I got his 2001 book on Usability when I was working in a web agency as a editor and swore buy it - kind of. Though we created the kind of websites that had few words, loads of visuals are were more like an interactive pop video!

I have never come across or found that writers pre-empty their rhetoric. I'm not saying it can't be learnt, but I think we presume too much to take a text, as if were were A' Level English students, and chop it up to decipher the mind of the author. However, I recall being shown some notes Churchill used to write his speeches, a brilliant orator of course, he had a very blocky, stepped approached to linking persuasive ideas.

However, it isn't for an academic to persuade of their thesis is it? Or is it? Surely the facts, however dry, must speak for themselves.


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