Clear Language

"Jack" Cappon has died. If you're a writer, you'll probably know him as the author of one of the best books ever written on how to write good: The Word: An Associated Press Guide to Good News Writing.

How good was it? Shawn Moynihan offers an appreciation.

Over at CJR, Nicholas Lemann ponders the limits of clear language, going back to George Orwell's classic "Politics and the English Language." Lemann doesn't quite worship at the altar of "P&TEL," however: He applauds it, but points out it was a rush job—one of 100 articles Orwell published in 1946.

Well, that's the blessing and curse of being a successful freelancer. Lemann argues that Orwell's examples of Newspeak in 1984 are both more thoroughly worked out and horrifying than the bureaucrateese of "P&TEL."