I loathe ESPN. I went out to dinner with my Mom and two of my kids Friday night. We went to a local “sports bar-type” restaurant that had televisions posted all over the place with the sound off. The main TV was playing ESPN2, which was showing some sort of ongoing (and lengthy–30 minutes? 60?) interview/documentary with arch-liberal Tony Gonzalez.
I have no idea what they were saying, but if the commentary didn’t stray heavily into political issues, I’ll eat my shorts, and if the topic of “How does Tony Gonzalez feel about being pro-gay in such a masculine sport like football” or “Would you be okay with a gay teammate?” didn’t come up, I’ll eat my neighbor’s shorts.
And I’ll even re-assess my opinion of ESPN. * * * * * * *
Over the past week, I’ve developed a distaste for Internet writing for one simple reason: the one-sentence paragraph. For some reason, it suddenly struck me that the majority of all paragraphs on the Internet consist of only one sentence. When I was writing for the online magazine Busted Halo years ago, I was told to keep my paragraphs to two sentences. The reasons: MTV-generation (short attention spans), readability (people don’t read online content like they read paper content), and digital presentation (more attractive, inviting).
So I appreciate the need for short paragraphs, but it looks like online writing has devolved to the point that the paragraph is the new sentence.
It’s nothing to get alarmed about, of course, but it is definitely a literary world far removed from The Elements of Style, which teaches each paragraph should be a separate topic and that (from the third edition), “As a rule, single sentences should not written or printed as paragraphs. An exception may be made of sentences of transition, indicating the relation between the parts of an exposition or argument.”
The phenomenon would also probably serve as rich fodder for a McLuhan-type study of the effects of a medium on our literary sensibilities. * * * * * * *Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList