Week 1 Critique: Wanted – Eccentrics, experience preferred

16849f32f406acfe8a66a78dc41eaa59I’m a great lover of eccentrics (I’m related to many of them) and so I chose Paul Wallis’s Sydney Media Jam’s blog in praise of eccentrics to critique this week. For my
critique, I will focus on:

  • Originality, Voice and Creativity,
  • Flow, Organization and Pacing, and
  • Story

As I started to read the blog, I really liked it. Paul Wallis is a highly intelligent writer with a strong wit and a vocabulary to match. I also really like the subject matter. I consider myself an eccentric living in a family of eccentrics and we sometimes get a flak from people who ask us “Why can you just be normal?”

As I continued reading the blog, I stopped liking it. While the author makes some really great points about how eccentricity and innovation are closely linked, his tone gradually becomes defensive and snippy at times, as if he is trying to wring an apology from the reader for past sins. And then he starts sounding downright insulting and essentially ending his blog telling readers that they should “tolerate the eccentric and downright weird”. Wow. That felt like a bit of a backhanded knock-down after trying to convince the reader of the value of this unique group or maybe that’s how I’m reading it.

The pacing at the start of the blog is very well done. The mix of rapid fire, repetitive sentences really gives the beginning an eccentric or atypical pacing that fits the subject. As he progresses, his flow falters as his focus fractures. There could be an argument that this is just him maintaining an eccentric flow to match the subject matter, but it feels disorganized in an unintentional way.

The story Paul Wallis is telling is interesting, but he could have narrowed his scope to make the focus more personal and celebratory of notable eccentrics. Instead, his message becomes lost in the spending of too many $10 words to try and prove his intelligence and his argumentative “support” of eccentric and creative people as valuable and necessary members of a robust society. For a blog post, it’s pretty long and I struggled to get through it but I wanted to see if it got better and ended on a positive note.

Spoiler Alert: It didn’t.

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