The mariner is reading the newly published book on Woodrow Wilson (“Wilson” by A. Scott Berg, Penguin Group Publishers). Harry Truman considered Woodrow Wilson to be the greatest of all Presidents of the United States. Virtually all the key concepts of government in place today, including many that FDR implemented, were initial accomplishments or designs promoted by Wilson.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt has become such a benchmark in history that few study the years prior to the depression, the New Deal, and the Second World War. Yet nothing in history leaps to the forefront without decades of forethought, tribulations and transition. Wilson was the start of the Twentieth Century; Wilson’s administration is the source of most of today’s Government – including the United Nations.
However, the mariner does not write to describe the contributions of Wilson. If you are interested, acquire the book. What has caught my attention is the writing style of author Berg. His style is as smooth as silk; his descriptions are as detailed as to note the color of the bedspread in wife Edith Wilson’s stateroom on the USS George Washington. His vocabulary is precise and endless, always selecting the perfect word placed in the perfect spot of an efficient sentence.
The American English vocabulary used today by every general class is unimaginative, inappropriate, not descriptive and fortunate not to have been subsumed by the word “got.” Further, the usable words in American conversation are merely connecting words that imply something wholly circumstantial; only the recipient understands unspoken meaning and nuance. The same words are meaningless used in conversation with another recipient.
Now the age of acronyms and cryptic shorthand forced to say the simplest, meaninglessly nuanced thoughts that can be expressed in 180 characters or less has arrived. The mariner’s linguistic friend considers language a constantly changing process reflecting the need of the culture.
Alas, this is not the mariner’s culture. Society grows less meaningful to him at the same rate as new iphones roll off the assembly line. Increasingly, it is one’s knowledge of touched icons, each driven only by a few hidden verbs; no words are spoken; no grammar required; no vocabulary necessary.
It is a joy to read superior, polished writing by Mr. Berg.
The word of the day is revanche.