I hadn’t looked at the byline and I was only a few paragraphs into this article when I thought, Wait, is this article written by Natalie Angier? It’s annoying me greatly so I bet it’s written by Natalie Angier.
And it was.
I don’t mean to pick on Angier particularly. Her writing just grates on me, sort of like some people react to fingernails on a chalkboard (which doesn’t bother me at all, by the way).
Kind of an amazing feat that someone’s writing can be recognized so easily.
As much as I’ve tried, I’ve not yet sussed out what makes Angier’s writing nettle me so much — perhaps its cloying cutesiness combined with sophomoric flourishes best left in the first draft.
Douglas Hofstadter is another one whose writing just alternately bores me and makes me want to hurl the book across the room, and for many of the same reasons.
He’s the only person I know who can expand a fifty-page essay into a thousand-page doorstop.
Yeah, that’d be Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.
The tagline for that book was, “A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll.”
The tag line of course should’ve been, “One boring over-hyped idea per 200 pages that only those under four years old have any trouble understanding in two seconds or less.”