Writing tips from the CIA’s ruthless style manual
Strunk & White, it turns out, were CIA sources. The authors of The Elements of Style
, a classic American writing guide, are cited alongside Henry Fowler, Wilson Follett, and Jacques Barzun in the Directorate of Intelligence’s Style Manual & Writers Guide for Intelligence Publications
, whose eighth edition (from 2011) was quietly posted online
(pdf) by the legal nonprofit National Security Counselors a little over a year ago, following a Freedom of Information Act request. [more inside]
posted by moody cow
on Jul 10, 2014 -
Black Glamour Power
- a Collectors Weekly interview with Nichelle Gainer of Vintage Black Glamour (previously)
: "A lot of people think of vintage black pictures as either civil-rights photos or black ladies at church, or maybe sharecroppers picking in the cotton fields and sweating from the hard work. That’s fine. Those are our pictures. But that shouldn’t be the only image of us. It’s nice to see a black woman who is not sweating in the field, but glistening from all this bling, like Josephine Baker, dripping in diamonds. Sometimes you want to see that. Why not? It’s easy to take glamour for granted. You can be a white woman, and you can care less about Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich, and that’s fine. But you know what? Black women haven’t had the same option." [more inside]
posted by flex
on Jun 26, 2014 -
"DISCLAIMER: Rap Shirts for White People
can be worn by people of all colors, but in some cases, it may not be appropriate to wear them at all. Use your best judgment." [NSFTwerk]
posted by Rykey
on May 31, 2014 -
"A gentleman in 1720 could read Greek while mounting a running horse. Today’s gentleman reads GQ in the bathroom. From rapists to stylists, a history of the American gentleman." [more inside]
posted by homunculus
on Feb 16, 2014 -
"In the interests of art, they seek to substitute the luxury of taste for the luxury of costliness; to teach that beauty does not imply elaboration or ornament; to employ only those forms and materials which make for simplicity, individuality and dignity of effect."
Every issue of Gustav Stickley
's influential journal of the American Craftsman movement,The Craftsman
posted by Think_Long
on Jul 6, 2013 -
"It is a gift, and the way God expresses herself through me. I’m so grateful for this art form because I don’t have to invite you to my studio to see my painting. You get to see it on me. I get to wear it, live it, be it". Collector's Weekly profiles Tziporah Salamon.
posted by goo
on Jun 11, 2013 -
Once the home of the Weckquaesgeek tribe
, and more recently, William Shatner
, Hastings-on-Hudson might sound like the next village over from Downton Abbey, but according to the New York Times, it's "a village, in a Wittgensteinian sort of way
" seeing an influx of ex-Brooklynites fleeing to the suburbs in the face of creeping real estate prices. Sure, these new hipsturbanites may miss the creative density of urban New York, but at least the river setting matches their Filson/woolrich heritage-brand aesthetic
. Read on
if you set your cultural compass to the Brooklyn Flea, or your NYT Style section appreciation to ironic twee.
posted by deludingmyself
on Feb 18, 2013 -
has some interesting stories and characters. Here's two to get you started:
Robert de Montesquiou - "Tall, black-haired, rouged, Kaiser-moustached, he cackled and screamed in weird attitudes, giggling in high soprano, hiding his little black teeth behind an exquisitely gloved hand – the poseur absolute. He was said to have slept with Sarah Bernhardt and vomited for a week afterwards."
posted by unliteral
on Dec 13, 2012 -
Lord Berners - "As a child, having heard that if you throw a dog into water it will learn how to swim, he threw his mother's canine companion out of the window on the grounds that if one applies the same logic it should learn how to fly. (The dog was unharmed, and he was "thrashed" by his mother.)"
is a motion-activated camera situated a block from the Bedford L in Williamsburg. It takes photos of people passing by and asks you to rate their style. Do your civic duty, and troll it
posted by outlandishmarxist
on Oct 24, 2012 -
Literary Style: 15 Writers' Bedrooms: Truman Capote
, Virginia Woolf
, Ernest Hemingway
, Flannery O'Connor
, Alexander Masters
, William S. Burroughs
, Slyvia Plath
, Henry David Thoreau
, Victor Hugo
, Emily Dickinson
, Miranda Seymour
, Mary Roach
, Marcel Proust
, Michael Morpurgo
, William Faulkner
posted by Fizz
on Apr 4, 2012 -
If you use Americanisms
just to show you know them, people may find you a tad tiresome, so be discriminating.
You may have to think harder if you are not to use jargon
, but you can still be precise.
Use all metaphors
, dead or alive, sparingly, otherwise you will make trouble for yourself.
Some words add nothing but length
to your prose.
(Notes from The Economist
's style guide
posted by Joey Bagels
on Feb 24, 2012 -
"It was Alan Flusser who pointed out, a whole generation of men in the '70s stopped getting dressed, so they didn't teach their children how to get dressed. More and more people have found, 'Oh, I can go read about this stuff.' " The Oral History of Menswear Blogging.
With Michael Bastian
, Scott Schuman
, Michael Williams
, Lawrence Schlossman
, Jesse Thorn
, and others.
posted by villanelles at dawn
on Dec 14, 2011 -
Everything feels old.
There have been no radical changes in style, culture, art, and fashion over the last 20 years—a stark contrast to every other two decade period going all the way back into the 19th-century, Kurt Anderson
argues in Vanity Fair
. Every 20 year period marked a drastic and unmistakable shift in cultural appearance with the exception of our current quarter century. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach
on Dec 8, 2011 -
It's not breakdancing.
Not really, although it's associated with breakdancing nowadays; breakin' was originally seen as being very east coast, while these dances originated on the west coast. What was this dancing?Well, many of the most famous 70s-80s street moves are actually called funk styles
, which were performed, at first, to funk and disco, and later to early electronic and industrial dance music. And the big daddy of them all was a dance called the Electric Boogaloo, and demonstrated by the Electric Boogaloos
.Here they are in their zoot-suited glory
, showing off their signature moves. [more inside]
posted by Bunny Ultramod
on Dec 4, 2011 -
The French romantic thriller “Diva” dashes along with a pellmell gracefulness, and it doesn’t take long to see that the images and visual gags and homages all fit together and reverberate back and forth. It’s a glittering toy of a movie... This one is by a new director, Jean-Jacques Beineix... who understands the pleasures to be had from a picture that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Every shot seems designed to delight the audience.
- Pauline Kael, 1982 [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Sep 16, 2011 -
"When legal teams need to prove or disprove the authorship of key texts, they call in the forensic linguists. Scholars in the field have tackled the disputed origins of some prestigious works, from Shakespearean sonnets to the Federalist Papers."
Decoding Your E-Mail Personality
Ben Zimmer, of Language Log discusses the Facebook case and forensic linguistics
in the NY Times. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam
on Aug 2, 2011 -