Why Bureaucracy Destroys Humanity

Bureaucracy: An administrative system governing any large institution composed of a complex web of hierarchical relationships and intended to steer human activity towards maximum efficiency.

That’s the technical definition anyway.

Those who’ve actually been part of a bureaucracy will likely paint a slightly less-rosy picture — like how it usually looks better on paper than it does on the ground. At their most embittered, they might even call its intrusion the enemy of all achievement.

Why the stigma? I want to propose three reasons why an ever-expanding bureaucracy is good for those fortunate enough to be on the inside, and…

In which dead beetles and viking funerals play a significant part.

Time for a little game. What do the following three sentences have in common?

  1. “He had the look of one who had drunk the cup of life and found a dead beetle at the bottom.” P.J. Wodehouse
  2. “When I die, I want a viking funeral at a public pool.” Paul Grealish, Twitter
  3. “Peterborough porch-pirate caught on video.” The Peterborough Examiner

Give up yet?

The answer is that they all employ a figure of speech called “antithesis.” Antithesis is when you contrast two opposing ideas in a sentence in hopes of the sheer electricity that will result. In the hands of…

This is who we are, this is what we do.

The Blind Bards Literary Society began as a small collective of local Christians interested in writing, literature, and the arts. Though we aren’t exactly paragons of learning, we are united in our conviction that Jesus Christ is the cohering principal of the cosmos, and that true life — life as it was meant to be lived — goes beyond mere existence. Echoing the words of C. S. Lewis, we believe “more in how humanity lives than how long. Progress [for us] means increasing the goodness and happiness of individual lives.”

Beyond this, we generally share a love for the written…

Though the tenants undergirding this publication would be considered broadly evangelical, submissions will be considered based on their own merit and not simply because of a fluency in “Christianese.” Those familiar with the late apologist Francis Schaeffer will recall his abhorrence for the flotsam often approved as “art” simply because of its theological overtness. We wholeheartedly affirm his antipathy in this regard and hope you do too.

So what are we looking for?

In a nutshell, we want well-crafted prose and poetry. Beyond this, we’re looking for ideas with substance; and by “substance” we mean ideas that are solid, consequential…

The secret of saying more with less

The prudent writer will attempt to maintain his spending habits somewhere between Ebenezer Scrooge and Kim Kardashian. On the one hand, he rightly fears any method which — in language or form — might indicate a dearth of supply. And so he guiltlessly pursues good literature, employs his thesaurus with reckless abandon, and regularly pillages his literary storehouse for fitting allusions, analogies, and hyperbole.

On the other hand, the maxim that more isn’t always better often keeps him awake at night, wondering if a certain sentence shouldn’t have been divided or if that ten-syllable word wasn’t a bit of an…

The surprisingly simple path to personal emptiness.

The problem with trying to monetize creativity is that, well, art isn’t always strictly marketable. I’m not saying that beautiful things aren’t valuable — only that certain ones defy quantifiablility more readily than others. I mean, how do you set a price on a paper-mache owl that took you three months to build? It would seem almost irreligious to try.


Because at the end of the day, one’s creative process shouldn’t be strangled by constantly wondering if anyone’s going to buy what you’ve made. That kind of thinking will extinguish your flaming Sambuca before you’ve even had time to…

A Sober Reflection on Foodstuffs

I stood and stared at one last bag,
the weight of which I feared;
would cause it’s membrane to unwind
should sturdy ground be cleared.

Deep inside I knew ’twas true,
two sturdy hands required:
one to brace, and one to grasp
the doorknob, once acquired.

A man of stouter heart than mine,
would surely know the way —
though two trips may be more than one,
the latter doesn’t pay.

But though good sense be true and straight,
it often fails to see,
How one path may not be the right,
yet still it longs to be.

And so…

How to lead your readers from the known to the unknown.

No one enjoys walking in on the middle of a conversation. Who knows what unspoken criteria have already been established? What inside jokes have already begun to form? What experiences have already been shared? In short, who knows what havoc your sudden intrusion will wreak on a conversation’s delicate ecosystem?

The best strategy is usually just to leave before you start. You could also try loitering nearby in the hopes that someone will eventually take pity on you and segue to the topic of your existence. …

And avoid noun abuse in the process.

Writers can sometimes bury their sentence’s main character and verb under a pile of sprawling, abstract nouns. These seemingly unmanned sentences mean that readers, with all the enthusiasm of a stuffed mongoose, will be forced to infer what’s happening.

Sometimes it’s okay to let people infer what’s happening — after all, writers, much like dentists, are allowed to use tools other than hammers to get things done. Still, there are certain strategies that are helpful to keep in mind if you want to make sure readers can follow you through the dark and dreary wood.

But first, let’s define our…

You were born with a backbone. Now write like it.

Anyone who managed to keep half-awake in biology class will recall that the creature kingdom can be divided into two main teams.

On the left we find the invertebrates. These functional critters behave almost entirely by instinct and, as one scientist put it, “are also incapable of learning from their mistakes.” They tend to be a moist, mucousy bunch and prefer real estate near bogs, semi-active volcanoes, and central L.A.

On the other side are the vertebrates who — possessing both skeletal structure and nervous system — have an edge beyond being so revolting that hopefully no one wants to…

Ben Inglis

Book lover, copyeditor, sometime windbag. Peddling unconventional perspectives on writers and the writing life.

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