Word Smithing and Facts
People sometimes ask is meant by wordsmithing. Although it has a meaning of improving the clarity without changing the substance, it has the connotation of slanting the content by chosing particular words to describe the content.
I canâ€™t always think of a good example of this aspect, but Iâ€™ve found one in Eric Rutlow’s American Canopy (p 65). By the way, an excellent book about the economic value and the role forests have played in Americaâ€™s development.
Talking of backwoodsmen or frontier hunters, Rutkow observes, â€œThey were no longer the antisocial vagrants of CrÃ¨vecoeur, but the embodiment of resourcefulness and bravery, an American original.â€
Backwoodsmen or frontier hunters are neutral labels, describing the people by their lifestyle with as little taint of evaluation as possible. A wordsmith, CrÃ¨vecoeur who wants his readers to despise them, labels them â€œantisocial vagrants.â€ Another wordsmith, Rutkow who wants the readers to think positively of them, describes their â€œresourcefulness and bravery.â€
The fact is they are still backwoodsmen or frontier hunters, but the wordsmith converts them to villains or heroes, according to their goal for reader perception.