Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Obfuscation

O is for Obfuscate


     “Eschew obfuscation.” Remember that saying on a t-shirt? But sometimes, isn’t obfuscation a way to a greater clarity?

     In the case of t-shirt philosophy, obfuscation allows for the puns that cause us to respond to the message. Consider the following seen past and present:

“Baroque? Get some Monet.”

“Let’s eat, Grandma. Let’s eat Grandma. Commas save lives.”

“Without art, Earth is just ‘eh’.”

“I’ll be Bach.”

Writer’s block is when the voices in your head don’t talk to you anymore.”

“Be careful or you’ll end up in my next novel”.

“I found this humerus.”

“ ‘i before ‘e’ except after ‘c’. Weird.”

      In order to enjoy the above, several aspects are assumed by the penner of the saying:

         You get cultural references.

         You know about word play and puns.

         You have some understanding of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

         And you enjoy the twist that makes the saying pithy.

     Obfuscation leads to clarity. Surely you agree. At least in the case of t-shirt philosophy.

     However, sometimes we writers inadvertently obfuscate. I am know in my writers’ groups for calling fellow scribblers for “unclear anaphoric referent”.

     Huh? Oh, you’ve done it. We all have. Anaphora is (if you recall your Greek etymology), “referring back”. Referent is what is being referred to. Got it? So “unclear anaphoric referent” means you, as the reader, cannot tell what the author’s “it” or “that” or “this” refers to. Better to delete those words (using the “find” function) and put in the real deal.

     So “eschew obfuscation” in your writing. Unless you write t-shirt slogans.



  1. Enjoyed that one, but as I am a "simple" person, not silly simple, but easy simple, no, wait that's not it either... OK for the sake of clarity... nice post!!! (lol)
    Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

    1. LOL I can tell a punner when I meet her! Glad you enjoyed this one. Come back when you can.