On Fear and Impersonality

Still, we have become a society fearful of revealing who we are. We have bred a national language of impersonality. The institutions that seek our support by sending us their brochures sound remarkably alike, though surely all of them — hospitals, schools, libraries, museums, zoos — were founded and are still sustained by men and women with different dreams and visions. Where are these people? It’s hard to glimpse them among all passive sentences that say “initiative were undertaken” and “priorities have been identified.”

William Zinsser, On Writing Well (Fifth Edition)


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