David M. Brown's Blog

October 25, 2010

Note to Jonah Goldberg re “Blood Was Every Color”

Filed under: Language and grammar,Society and culture,Television — davidmbrowndotcom @ 12:00 am

So this is the way you wanted to end your interesting article on group moral relativism in “Sons of Anarchy” in particular and American culture in general: “And what else are you going to watch on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m.?” Offering this kind of flippant and trivial irrelevancy as a concluding thought is an example of what one might call literary relativism. Of course, mentioning the schedule for the show that is the subject of an article encouraging readers to watch the show is not irrelevant as a point of information. But it’s off-putting as the closing sentence of a piece with a serious literary-philosophical theme because it is irrelevant to that theme. Moreover, the line dates the article in the way that mentioning the schedule earlier in the piece would not have dated it. The very last sentence of any work is given special stress, an extra weight, in virtue of that position. And this is the first sentence it would make sense to lop in any reprint of the article after the show has been rescheduled or ended its run.

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