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Reader comment on Kent Nerburn's passage ...

But It Is There


On Aug 31, 2010 Jason wrote:

I don't wish to hog the board but I can't help asking Akong if he/she sincerely believes that "all of the ills of the world still pale when compared to the elegance of the morning sun exploding through a raindrop on a green leaf." Such rhetorical flourishes may sound OK when comparing an abstract generalisation of suffering with a specific example of natural beauty, but they lose their credibility when you substitute a specific example. The following sounds rather twisted, for example:

"The horror of a grenade exploding in a crowded marketplace and tearing through the innards of an innocent child still pales when compared to the elegance of the morning sun exploding through a raindrop on a green leaf."

or

"The slow progress of the parastic infection river blindness as the miscroscopic worms make their way through the body, causing itching, sometimes elephantiasis of the genitals and eventually, in some cases, blindness, still pales when compared to the elegance of the morning sun exploding through a raindrop on a green leaf."

I'm all for turning an elegant phrase, but when using an image as part of an argument I think it's a good idea to reflect on whether you really mean what your words say. Saying things you don't really believe on closer consideration shows a lack of respect for your readers and for your own intelligence.



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