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I have always greatly enjoyed reading newspaper articles and magazine articles from bygone eras (specifically, pre-1920s). The writing style was much more enjoyable and engrossing, and I rarely notice it takes me twice as long to read the same amount of newsprint because I'm searching through my dictionary
to learn what words mean.
Honestly, did people ever say, "Fracas?" Can't we stick with "rumpus" or "donnybrook?"
I propose a major-market (presumably weekly) version of that older style of writing, complete with old-fashioned advertisements to support.
Staff writers would, of course, have to wear fedoras or similarly-dated hats. And suspenders.
Odds are this wouldn't fly on its own. It might perhaps be far more enjoyable to simply see articles written in an older style inserted into modern papers.
Immediately after a dryly-worded article on the local sewer gas tragedy, an article ending with, "even his staunchest detractors could never challenge his wisdom in the matters of matrimony!" about a political figure's allowing his wife to rein him in.
I would probably pay extra just to see the word "vouchsafe" in print.
Sample paper from Atlanta, 1890
[shapu, Jan 12 2008]
A different take on the idea
[normzone, Jan 13 2008]
||Does bringing back things from the past really count as a new half-baked invention?
||I'll email the word "vouchsafe" to you as many times as you'd like if you pay me for it.
||The Times is written in a thoroughly modern style. I too would like to see newspapers written as they were so I give you my bun [+].
||Today's newspapers differ primarily in that they put a lot of twaddle between each fact. Hundred year old newspapers have a much higher fact per word ratio.
||v3: ah, no. If you actually read any old newspapers, you would find them just as cavalier, and often much more so, in substituting editorial opinion for fact. Indeed, newspaper coverage of the Civil War differs little from coverage of the Iraqi War, up to and including the constant allegations of Presidential incompetence. Only in one case would they appear to be correct.
||How about an online translator? At it's
minimum, it makes substitutions such as
"sex" > "intimate relations"; "cancer" >
"grave illness"; "spin" > "less than
impartial representation"; "previously" >
"heretofore" etc. A more advanced
version would restructure sentences.