I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"
If you weren't a college theater major, you can be forgiven for not knowing much about commedia dell'arte, the 500-year-old theatrical tradition that Carlo Goldoni used for his comedy The Servant of Two Masters in 1743. Contemporary playwright Richard Bean has adapted that play into the decidedly British laugh riot One Man, Two Guvnors -- and he says all you really need to know about commedia is ... well, it's funny.
Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 11:25 am
When the ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption was lifted in the U.S. last November, it was only a matter of time before someone applied to start the practice up again.
That person is Rick De Los Santos, a New Mexico rancher and owner of Valley Meat Co. If the USDA approves his application to have a former beef slaughterhouse inspected, it would allow the first slaughter of horses in the U.S. since 2007.
Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 1:06 pm
Imagine it's England, 1209, and you're a wealthy baron. You arrive home from London one day to discover that King John's minions have once again raided your stores of grain. It's the king's right, of course — he has a large household and armies to feed — and there's a promise of compensation.
But all too often that payment arrives late, if at all. And there was that incident last year where the bailiff was caught selling the seized goods instead of handing them over to the king's men.
Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth." This month, Brown has been thinking about the contributions of journalists to global culture.