“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.”
is when the voices in your head don’t talk to you anymore.”
“Be careful or you’ll end up in my next
“I found this humerus.”
“ ‘i before ‘e’ except after ‘c’.
In order to enjoy the above, several aspects are assumed by
the penner of the saying:
get cultural references.
know about word play and puns.
have some understanding of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
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
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