Friday, January 27, 2012

Stop it.

Below is an 145-word sentence from "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" by Laurence Sterne. Many people, and I am among them, consider the novel (which was one of the first ever written in English) to be one of the greatest novels ever.

"I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider'd how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost;—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that in which the reader is likely to see me."

I'm not sure if people today can fathom a sentence of this length. If, in the "Interruption Era" we can unravel its meandering complexity.

One thing I am sure about, utterly and completely positive about is this: No one, no one, no one gains even a scintilla of value from a brand positioning statement that is 56 words long.

1 comment:

Perry Gaskill said...

Not sure if Sterne needs a blue pencil or a chainsaw. Try this:

"I wish my parents had thought about what it meant for me to be born. If they had, I think I would have turned out to be a different person."