At last the were-wolf which howls outside the department of English and yaps at the heels of secondary school teachers is hung high and safe. "What is good English?" has wracked the best brains of England and America. This question is rumored to have brought white hairs upon thousands of academic craniums and it ranks fifth among the causes of suicide. At last, the Sphinx is answered, and right nobly, too.
Good English is business English, according to Dean Garner of the Northeastern business school in Chicago. And business English is short and "Kicky". At last the lie is passed to Shakespeare, Browne, and Johnson, and all the other foreigners who talked over the businessman's head: they didn't write good English. The son of the Rotarian may henceforth plead scot-free of Milton: he didn't write good English.
The unknown author of the Gillette razor advertisements writes good English, for it is "Kicky". Popular slogans, selling talks, and George Ade are the acme of literary perfection, and the unfortunate essayist or philosopher is tossed to the limbo of the unfit, for he cannot quality. Alas! the gods of yesterday are not the gods of tomorrow.
It is evident that the worthy dean has reversed his sense. Business English is good English--of a kind. But in his zeal for his special brand, he must leave to doddering academicians their favorites also, for the "Kick" of today is nonsense tomorrow.