Sunday, January 21, 2007

Worst Person Singular

You may or may not have been reading this discussion, but if you have, then let me give you a repeat a quote from it, by Tim Blair:
It's not that blog posts shouldn't contain the word "I"; it's that good writing in general shouldn't. Mishandled use of the "I" makes things read like vain little diary items.
To which Cristy replied:
Many blogs are partly online diaries/journals and so I am not sure why it should be problematic that subjective personal experiences are therefore a strong feature of many blogs. I also strongly disagree with the incredible outdated rule that the word "I" should not be used in good writing. I think that it can be used to good effect in all kinds of writing and that many attempts to avoid its use are clumsy and dishonest.
Well, that's how everything started, anyway. To settle things for once and for all, WillTypeForFood (which for the purposes of this post is using the third-person pronoun, removed) has decided to invite the pronoun 'I' into the blog for an interview. *


Name? I.

Occupation? Pronoun

Tell us about yourself? I am a very important pronoun! I appear in all the most important types of literature: autobiography, dramatic monologue, soliloquies. And unlike all those OTHER pronouns, I am ALWAYS capitalised!

Favourite quote? Oh, but there's so many! There's "I Am What I Am", which is quite true! And then, of course, there is "I am the Egg Man, I am the Egg Man, I am the Walrus," which may or may not be true, but it certainly has a nice ring to it. Oh! There's so many quotes in which I appear! Rosy-lipped maidens and dashing princes swear to one another, "I love you!", and swooning sheep and rams say to one another "I love ewe!" which is much the same thing, I expect.

Favourite Possession? My mirror!

Fun fact about yourself? I am not only a pronoun, but I am also an acronym! I stand for myself in many common shortenings of phrases. 'I.O.U.', for instance! There are not any other pronouns with this singular honour!

Married or single? Not only single, but singular! Let's face it, if I ever got married, then I would turn into a 'we', and that would just be ridiculous!

Do you ever stop talking about yourself? That's not true at all, I never talk about yourself, but I talk about myself quite a lot. As a matter of fact, I once attempted to talk about myself only in the third-person singular for a whole day, and I couldn't do it! I ended up nearly going mad, walking about the streets stuttering at random intervals "I.... I .... I ...." Some people even thought I was a pirate, crying out, "Aye Aye, Cap'n!" It was ridiculous!

That must make it quite difficult sometimes. Yes, it's true, sometimes when I am reading poetry it gets quite difficult. For instance, there's this Shakespeare line that goes:
Shall I compare...
I... I... I'm sorry, I can't do it!

I believe the line is 'Shall I compare Thee to a summer's day'. Ah yes, that's quite right. I'd forgotten about that! Anyway, I managed to alter the poem quite nicely, so now instead of saying... that word, I now say:
Shall I compare me to a summer's day?
I am more lovely and more temperate!
I think that sounds much nicer, yes?

Very pretty. Well, thank you, First-Person Singular: Yes, I thank me very much too. Thank me for having this discussion! I'm only too pleased to help!

*Alternative titles considered: Beware the Is of March, and Egos, Egos, E Just Goes.


Anonymous said...

Heh. He has certainly copped a lot of flack for that particular comment. I wonder if he regrets it, even slightly...?

TimT said...

I'm sure he's copped a lot worse!

skepticlawyer said...

Like Rob and Jason, he'd probably still say that personal blogging just doesn't float his boat - a perfectly legitimate comment.

He did get rather hammered on the personal pronoun thingy, though, probably because a lot of righties went after him for it. He's a smart bloke; he'll learn - we all do.

TimT said...

It bore an interesting similarity to this comment thread on his blog!

Anonymous said...

The plural of Latin "ego" ("I"), is "nos" ("we"), so "nosism" is collective egotism, self-centredness on behalf of a group.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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