In Fangirl Praise of Lileks

Filed under:Authors,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on March 9, 2007 @ 11:19 am

Best Word Use of the Week: Rectitude.

If there’s any industry that makes your scam-hackles rise, it’s the car-repair world, but these guys impressed me from the start with Conspicuous Rectitude. Maybe it’s a Minnesota thing. It’s certainly an American thing: six months after a repair job, they agreed without hesitation to revisit the work, because Mister Customer Almighty’s precious quarterpanel was 3/8” out of alignment.

I need car guys like his, but that’s beside the current point: Lileks has a precision of expression that is tough to stop short of the event horizon that sucks you into the Pretentious Zone, but he does it day after day. You’d think it’d be easier to do in a column limited to 300 words, but the Bleat is better. Slice-of-life paragraphs incisively expressed, political opinions that lazily skewer the pomposity of the day without any venom or dirty pool, and now and then he pulls out a Jane Austen word like “rectitude.” Add to all that, he apparently manages to write like this while having stayed at home with his daughter while she was preschool-aged and now continuing to be her main source of company, authority, and homework help during the school week.

If I could write one-tenth as well as that, I’d write instead of edit for a living, but I like to think the ability to size him up is what makes me a pretty good editor. I’ll take what I can get. And keep reading, avidly.


  1. First step is almost certainly to restrict yourself to 300 words.

    Comment by Mad William Flint — March 10, 2007 @ 7:06 am

  2. I’m not sure how to take that … ;)

    Comment by Anwyn — March 10, 2007 @ 8:35 am

  3. as you will

    Comment by Mad William Flint — March 10, 2007 @ 7:13 pm

  4. Lileks has been a favorite of mine for several years now. He’s got an agile mind and unending mental energy. I’m glad you pointed him out for other readers.

    I found your site from your Fresh Bilge comment.

    Comment by Angie — March 12, 2007 @ 11:13 am

  5. Thanks for commenting, Angie. I like Fresh Bilge’s no-nonsense approach quite a bit. I hope you’ll find other things here that catch your interest as well.

    Comment by Anwyn — March 12, 2007 @ 11:35 am

  6. Same here, re: Lileks and Alan.

    Comment by Tatyana — March 16, 2007 @ 6:09 am

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