Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guest Post: A Reader's Perspective On "Pellucidly Clear"

[Prior to the December 10, 2009 post, "Pellucidly Clear"--at the Supreme Court, the NY Court of Appeals, & Elsewhere (An Impressive & Fascinating Pedigree), I innocently asked a reader of New York Court Watcher if he was familiar with "pellucidly clear," and what he thought about its use in judicial opinions or blogs or any other venue. I thought it well worth sharing his response. So here it is as a guest post.]

In all seriousness, I love it. First, I don’t necessarily view it as a “literal redundancy”; there’s clear, and then there’s CLEAR, if you know what I mean.

Second, the word itself, “pellucid,” is quite lovely. It <*AHEM*> “conjures up” images of the still crystal waters of a highland loch … a low mist rolling like captured cumulus clouds across those waters, just as dawn begins to break through the thin veil of just a few actual clouds, high above … and then, ever-so-slowly, a sword—no; strike that—a Sword begins to emerge, silently and utterly smoothly, “breaking”-yet-not breaking the surface of the loch. And then we see a hand, gripping the hilt of the Sword—which, of course, is none other than mighty Excalibur itself, Blade of Legend, and a weapon most-badass!—and then an arm emerges—slender, beautiful, skin practically translucent—that of the Lady of the Lake….

Sorry … what were we talking about? I’m actually quite fond of Arthurian legends and mythology, BTW. Is that something you knew about me, by any chance?

Anyway, finally, I’m very fond—generally, and certainly in this case—of the use of an adverb-in-form as an adjective; it somehow adds a pleasing and/or interesting “lilt” (yet p’raps that’s nae more than me Welsh ‘eritage shewyng).

So—in sum, at bottom, all kidding aside—I say: go for it! Indeed, even if it is a “redundancy,” in some small, stingy literal (or, what’s the word you like? … Ah! “formalistic”) sense, so what??

Again, I say – so what?? Strike boldly, man, and let sound a mighty chord, in the very key of redundancy. And let it resound, mellifluously (if a trifle floridly…), across this great and proud land of ours, where – Yes! – a lone individual (who merely happens to be a tenured law professor with several advanced degrees and a distinguished background that includes both military and government service) may certainly discuss—in no less public and noteworthy a medium than the rarefied pages of a blog on legal (or, more particularly, judicial) writing—the finer points of grammatical usages in such writings, without fear of hooded, jackbooted, drone-like agents of the status quo—the very “Establishment,” itself—kicking down his doors in the middle of the night!

And when, in the end, you have been “disappeared” and spirited off to some dank cell in Egypt, or Gitmo, or wherever … and your name and memory have been erased from not only the pages, but the very indices, of the history books … and it is a crime not only to speak—but even to think—your name, I, for one, sir, will not forget, but rather will mourn you … and remember you—often and fondly—as one of the Last Great American Heroes and Thought Leaders of consciously non-utilitarian grammatical phrasing in the context of academic analyses of certain discrete instances of judicial decisional writing.

But, just to be “on the same page,” here, if “anybody” (i.e., “The Man”) DOES ask … well then, of course, I never knew you, we never had this conversation, and anybody who says otherwise is a freakin’ LIAR!

There you are, sir! As requested: one heapin’ helping of incisive, insightful, and—one might even say—somewhat brilliant analysis, with a side order of irony, and just a dusting of freshly ground wit (he said, with nary a hint of hyperbole nor a trace of ego…).

So, does that help??

If not, please forgive my ramblings and digressions, and allow me to be perfectly, plainly, crystallinely, transparently, flawlessly, uncloudedly, and, of course, pellucidly clear: It’s nice, I like it, and I wouldn’t hesitate for an instant to use it—certainly not in the context you outlined.

As always, happy to offer my—perhaps less than direct but, hopefully, nonetheless helpful—perspective, especially on such weighty and substantive matters!

All the best, Demosthenes Locke