A well edited sentence is a thing of beauty

Where are sentences and syntax so pretty and fresh that they match natural pearls to be found? Why, in the pages of the Economist.

Its sub-editors are craftsmen not unlike those of the Renaissance, who wrought the spectacular works of Cellini and his ilk and made them come alive so that mere mortals could gaze upon these masterpieces of creation.

The back bench folk in St James’s not only understand the effects of a misplaced comma, but can discourse, at length if required, upon modal verbs, relative clauses and determiners.

And so they should; after all, they are at the peak of their linguistic powers and that is why they work where they do. What these people do is to make it nigh on impossible to misunderstand the Economist’s content, or doubt its accuracy.

We know that machines cannot create content. We now also know that they cannot curate or edit it correctly either.

Irrefutable evidence of this truth is the indefensible shambles that ensued at Facebook following wholesale dismissal of many of its curating staff.

Gone was the sensible human touch; instead the trending service chose to highlight, as suitable newsfeeds, articles including a gentlemen pleasuring himself courtesy of a McDonald’s chicken sandwich and a fake story about a US news anchor.

Facebook’s sacked editors have been replaced by an algorithm.

What a horrible and ugly thing to do; what a foul insult to men and women of letters. I propose that for one event only, the law prohibiting duelling should be repealed primarily to honour the memory of Dr Johnson and others.