Skube writes about Cooke,
writing in LA Times piece


School of Communications faculty member Michael Skube was invited by the editors of the Los Angeles Times to write an essay on the contributions of Alistair Cooke, the consummate professional communicator who died recently. The article appeared in the April 4 edition of the Times.

Here's a brief excerpt of Skube's piece:

"If you are a writer, there was something even closer to the core of the man, and it was the way he used words on paper. He was, after all, a foreign correspondent long before radio, and then television, found him, and to the end he considered himself a reporter and a writer. Good writers try to live by the injunction 'show, don't tell.' Ask half a dozen writers what that means, and you'll get half a dozen answers, and yet every writer knows intuitively. It means something like this:

'What I saw was a small man so short in the thighs that when he stood up he seemed smaller than when he was sitting down. He had a plum pudding of a body and a square head stuck on it with no intervening neck. His brown hair was parted exactly in the middle, and the two cowlicks touched his eyebrows. He had very light blue eyes small enough to show the whites above the irises, which gave him the earnestness of a gas jet when he talked, an air of resigned incredulity when he listened, and a merry acceptance of the human race and all its foibles when he grinned.'

"This was Cooke writing about H.L. Mencken, unread today but in his time the most lacerating newspaper columnist in the land."





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Last Modified:  4/05/04
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