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03.07.2022 at 05:15 pm
Cuttings

The Unpreparedness Apology

To beautifully say, "I'm sorry, I wasn't prepared."

... In the first place, the argumentative parts of the following lectures having been delivered extemporaneously, without even any previous mental preparation; secondly, the lectures having been since written, without any alteration or omission, from the stenographic notes faithfully taken at the time of the delivery before my various classes in New York and Philadelphia; and this labor having, besides, been accomplished under the pressure of innumerable engagements, and the disadvantage of many very unpleasant interruptions - it therefore unavoidably follows that the present work can have no pretensions to absolute perfection, or to that polished elegance which ought generally to characterize a literary production cautiously matured and thoughtfully digested - although the reader will probably find in the perusal certain portions not altogether unworthy of his notice.

If, then, in the subsequent pages, some obscurity should be perceived, or a diffuseness in certain trains of thought, or even a few transparent Gallicisms, the following statement, which has also been made in the preface to my Phreno-Mnemotechnic Dictionary, will, I hope, be kindly borne in mind, viz. : that the author, no longer than four years ago, was 'a total stranger to the English language - a language, to the methodical study of which, uncontrollable circumstances have hitherto prevented him from devoting a single moment of his perpetually crowded time.

Were I writing in one of those languages in which composition is more familiar to me, by longer practice and early grammatical study, I should have proceeded without apology - more particularly since the present work is not to be issued with the pretensions of a literary production; but the disadvantages under which I had to labor being in some instances more than obvious to the critic, I thought it would be imprudent to commence without soliciting, once for all, the indulgence of a judicious public.

- Francis Fauvel Gourad
Phreno-Mnemotechny: The Art of Memory

I like how the 'apology' builds up. And how, even then, it is tendered without ever using the word 'sorry' or its equivalent. (Though mind the difference: this entire endeavour seems more out of decorousness, rather than actual regret.)

The tone reminds me of this line from Deus Ex:

...I never asked for this. They say they saved me, but I'm not sure saved is the right word.


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