[Ads-l] Quote: They're not writers; they're typists. (Truman Capote, Sprint 1957)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Mar 28 15:25:46 UTC 2016

> On Mar 28, 2016, at 11:21 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 11:16 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> Interesting.  In honor of another baseball season about to kick off, I note a near
>> parallel:  the difference between pitching and "throwing", where the former implies
>> finesse, brains, maturity, etc., and the latter brute force on the fastball to
>> overpower hitters rather than to keep them off-balance.  So we get "He used to
>> be a thrower, now he's a pitcher".  Not an exact parallel, but a "thrower" is
>> definitely, in Capote's words, a non-stylist.
> Somewhat like the pugilistic distinction between a boxer and a puncher.

Very much so--or a dauber ("A coarse or unskilful painter"--OED) vs. (not v.!) a painter.  

Wonder what the slur is for an academic.  Or is "academic" the slur?

>>> On Mar 27, 2016, at 11:07 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
>>> That's not writing, that's typing
>>> The expression above is often attributed to Truman Capote although the
>>> phrasing varies. A great new citation in 1957 was brought to my
>>> attention by Terry Teachout of the WSJ. Previously, the earliest
>>> citation (I knew about) was dated January 1959. The key phrase in 1957
>>> was:
>>> . . . they're not writers; they're typists.
>>> [ref] Spring-Summer 1957, The Paris Review, Number 16, Truman Capote,
>>> The Art of Fiction No. 17, Interviewed by Pati Hill, Paris Review,
>>> Inc., Flushing, New York. (Online archive of The Paris Review at
>>> theparisreview.org; accessed March 27, 2016) link [/ref]
>>> [Begin excerpt]
>>> But yes, there is such an animal as a nonstylist. Only they’re not
>>> writers; they’re typists. Sweaty typists blacking up pounds of bond
>>> paper with formless, eyeless, earless messages.
>>> [End excerpt]
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