The trigger for this post was simply an ending line in an essay that I read. It was in the Economist. One of the few magazines that I love to read, for the content and for the writing style as well. (I even put my money where my mouth is, in this case--I am a subscriber!) Those wonderful writers, who always have that Economist way of writing. In a magazine that is staunchly pro-individual rights and capitalism, the writers remain anonymous:
Why is it anonymous? Many hands write The Economist, but it speaks with a collective voice. Leaders are discussed, often disputed, each week in meetings that are open to all members of the editorial staff. Journalists often co-operate on articles. And some articles are heavily edited. The main reason for anonymity, however, is a belief that what is written is more important than who writes it. As Geoffrey Crowther, editor from 1938 to 1956, put it, anonymity keeps the editor "not the master but the servant of something far greater than himself. You can call that ancestor-worship if you wish, but it gives to the paper an astonishing momentum of thought and principle."
Kind of ironic, right, that the emphasis is on the whole, the product, with no spotlight on the individual writer? Almost like one of those leftist collectives ;)
Anyway, the ending sentence that impressed me was in a report on China building a new "silk road" via Kazakhstan.
There are many ways a train can derail.
How awesome! You need to read the entire essay in order to understand why it is such a wonderful line.
We might remember many opening sentences, like Tolstoy's "all happy families are alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" in Anna Karenina. Or, Melville's "call me Ishmael" in Moby Dick. Or, of course, Dickens' "it was the best of times it was the worst of times" in A Tale of Two Cities. But, the final lines don't always get that applause.
My favorite last line is from a movie. From an old movie. No, not from Casablanca, though that is phenomenal as well. The one I love, love, as an ending is from Some Like It Hot. A marvelous final line! ;)