By Chet Yarbrough
Michael Drout is a professor of English. “The Modern Scholar” is a lecture series on various subjects, some of which are interesting, all of which are irritatingly plugged between lecture chapters by the publisher. However, putting that irritation aside, Drout is an excellent lecturer because he has a way with words.
Drout offers great advice to anyone that likes to write but is unsure of their ability to communicate clearly, either as a writer or speaker. One of Drout’s insights is that good writing and speaking is designed to find the truth; i.e. when reviewing an audiobook or making observations about the world, a good writer or speaker is trying to find the truth.
Google posted a track-back note to chetyarbrough.com that says that a “…couple of web sites that transpire to be detailed beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly effectively worth checking out…” The note is attached to one of this web site’s posts titled “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?” First, Google should be embarrassed by the ugly syntax of their track back; second, looking back at the original post of “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW”, the writer is embarrassed. Several corrections were made because the posted book review fails to communicate clearly.
Drout’s erudition make one realize how important it is to write and speak clearly and truthfully. Michael Drout red flags misuse of rhetoric that obfuscates or misleads rather than reveals truth to an audience. When reviewing an audio book, writing is meant to reveal truths of a book with the hope that it reveals truth to all. Some subscribers to this web site are aggravated by email notices of new postings that are actually just revisions of something written that fails the test of clarity.
The concept of finding the truth is the most revelatory insight of the lecture series but Drout offers much more. Knowing Athos, Porthos, and Aramis is entertaining but understanding logos, ethos, and pathos is more important. Understanding rhetoric, enthymemes, schemes, tropes, and punctuation will make most writers and speakers better.