Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

A 4-Day Adventure: From Writing This Blog to Not Writing This Blog

After a relaxing 4-day break, Tuesday evening was finally upon me. I wrote this:

“When I got out of class on Friday afternoon, I envisioned myself spending the majority of 4-day break at my desk, intently working on blog posts. I sat down and went straight to work. By that evening, I had come up with some good ideas, and on Saturday I made some progress. By Sunday morning, I had forgotten that my blog existed. On Monday, I realized that I should probably post something, and today, I haven’t finished composing anything. So, to commemorate the 4-day break, here are fragments of four would-be-longer blog posts.”

Right now, it is the wee hours of Wednesday night/Thursday morning, and two of the four blog-post-fragments still too much in their fragmenthood to post. So, to commemorate the upcoming 2-day weekend, here are two:

1. What is going on with simultaneously?

I have seen the word simultaneously pop up in some odd contexts. Here are some example sentences:

-Kanye disrobed while simultaneously buying out his own clothing line.

-As the child puffed, the bubble simultaneously grew.

And here is a situation where simultaneously seems less superfluous:

-After a moment of silence, they hung up simultaneously.

In the first two examples, while and as already imply similar timing, so it seems unnecessary to say simultaneously. However, both while and as can be used to form comparisons without regard for time: While Napoleon came to power through a coup d’etat, the president was elected democratically.* In cases like these, simultaneously could clarify that the clauses attached by as or while did occur at the same time. Still, to me it sounds bad to say “while simultaneously.” You could resolve this by separating these two words in the sentence, or by replacing simultaneously with at the same time, though that changes the meaning slightly. Simultaneously sounds more mechanical than at the same time, which feels more human. Additionally, at the same time sounds more quick and punctual, while simultaneously sounds more gradual and drawn out. My advice is to write whatever is the most accurate to what you want to say.

*Strunk and White’s Elements Of Style says never to use “while” in comparisons. I should not feel obligated to acknowledge that, but since so-called “authorities on writing” have somehow not yet disposed of that oppressive book, I do. If you have a copy of it, please consider the recycling bin––it’s made of paper which can be used for other things. Soon, I will dedicate an entire post to why Elements of Style is the worst.


2. Advertising pulls some strange rhetorical tricks. Coors Light ads describe their product as “The World’s Most Refreshing Beer.” When I think of a “refreshing” beverage, I think of something I want to drink while I’m exercising. Beer? No thanks. Nevertheless, Coors Light wants to convince people that its beer is a prime thirst-quencher. The ads are filled with ice so that people associate the desire to drink something cold with Coors Light. This is kind of funny, because how cold a beer is has nothing to do with its brand. Coors Light, please do the world a favor and spend your massive advertising budget on something more socially productive.


That’s all for now.

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