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A reader of Theodore Dalrymple’s article Heart of Darkness comments thus:
My comment is not regarding Mr. Dalrymple's excellent article, but rather your fatuous instruction "If you have enjoyed this article . . ." which is highly inappropriate to the contents of the article. Enjoyed, forsooth! perhaps by a sadist or masochist or Mr.Mailer.
Oh dear. My name is Mary Jackson and I am fatuous. I came up with this admittedly rather trite form of words. “Enjoy” is not quite the word for a Dalrymple article.
Then again, what is? I came up with this form of words to link all articles to a blog posting for comments, but each New English Review article is different. One article instructs, another delights. Some do both. One moves the reader to pity, another to terror. Some inspire fear, some surprise, some perhaps a fanatical devotion to the Pope. Laughter, or tears, or laughter through tears. Snorts of derision and howls of indignation. One article made a reader cry out: “You are a monster, Mr Derbyshire.” And it wasn’t even one of Derb’s.*
So, unless we are to pick a different word for each author and each article, what shall we have instead of “enjoy”?
How about “read”? “If you have read this article, please comment here.” But that’s a bit patronising. Someone will say: “Of course I’ve read it, forsooth, otherwise I wouldn’t be commenting.”
Here’s a better idea. Readers, stop being so literal-minded.
*For those who haven’t stopped being literal minded, this was a joke.