Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When the Two Become One

I always find myself a bit surprised when people find it hard to tell my and MrsDarwin's writing apart. After all, I never have this problem. And we so often measure others by ourselves, even when we have little right to expect similarity.

If it doesn't seem revoltingly naval-gazing to ask:

1) Do you find Darwin and MrsDarwin posts hard to tell apart some or all of the time?
2) Does it seem to you natural or odd for spouses to seem hard to tell apart in print?

And if it does seem revoltingly naval gazing... Well, sorry. It's Tuesday and I'm already talking about it having been a long week at work. All I can say is:


hmom said...

I have a hard time telling you two apart sometimes. I think it's a bit odd, in a good way.

Big Tex said...

Well, knowing y'all in person helps differentiate writing styles. I must confess though, I find it harder to differentiate after quite a few gin and tonics.

bearing said...

No. Very, very rarely I will read something here, guess who wrote it, and be wrong. Most of the time it is obvious.

Maybe it helps that I have never met either of you.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

1) I think I've always been able to tell your posts apart. Even though you may have similar opinions or reactions, you do have individual voices.

2) I suspect that spouses who work as co-writers would develop a joint style. But otherwise, all of the married couples I know have individual writing styles that are quite distinct.

Kate said...

I can usually tell within a couple of lines which Darwin it is. Your writing voices are similar, but distinct.

Where it gets confusing is that you do of course share a certain worldview and your interests overlap. But that happens to my husband and I all the time - we've formed so many of our ideas and tastes in tandem that while they get tossed back and forth over time, they really are 'ours' rather than his and mine.

Enbrethiliel said...


The only other couples I've ever read were Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand and Milton and Rose Friedman. It's easy to tell the first two spouses apart. As for the second . . . the only book of theirs I've read was co-written, with anecdotal stories which begin, "One of us met an economist who said . . ." so I've always imagined that they were hard to tell apart in print.

As for you and Mrs. Darwin, I can tell you apart only about 80% of the time.

TS said...

I generally can tell you apart except when you write under the spouse's name. :-)

Emily J. said...

Oh, I have to admit, I have a hard time telling who's who sometimes.

By the way, I've been chuckling all week after watching the P and P Disco and autotune clips.

Rebekka said...

Only occasionally do I have to check and see who wrote it. I think it's mostly when you guys write about certain books and/or your kids.

I'm half ashamed to do this, but it's a major net-pet-peeve of mine: it's actually navel gazing, unless you've got a thing for sailors.

mrsdarwin said...


That's how you'll always be able to tell Darwin's posts from mine: I never mis-spell or leave out words because I'm typing too fast. :)

mrsdarwin said...

Emily J.,

I knew we had to cut it out with the rewatching Autotune the News when I heard my three-year-old in the backyard singing, "I have a mullet! I'm offering you a piece of bread!"

Foxfier said...

I can't instantly tell your writing apart without looking, but that seems normal-- complementary minds are a great aid in a marriage, so it figures that you'd be similar.

j. christian said...

I can usually tell you apart within the first sentence or two.

Rick Lugari said...

Normally I would have no problem telling your posts apart, but since Darwin has decided that guns, babes, and babes with guns aren't blogworthy material, his posts do have that sort of homeschooling mom flavor to them.

Seriously though, Orphan Openings would be very tough to discern. Subject matter is usually the first clue to who the author is. It also doesn't hurt if you've already read Darwin's posts over at The American Catholic. However, even at TAC, I can usually identify Darwin as the author within a few lines.

It's Tuesday and I'm already talking about it having been a long week at work.

Indeed, and thanks again for the help.

Melanie Bettinelli said...

I can usually tell. Every once in a while I start reading something assuming it is one of you and then partway through there will be a word or phrase that tips me off that I've made a false assumption and then I have to go back and re-read to catch the other voice.

Like Kate said you have a similar worldview and interests; but usually I can tell which is which because of the subject matter of the post.

CMinor said...

I can usually tell, though I think on at least one occasion I mistakenly assumed MrsD was wrriting under Darwin's account.

There was an online instrument that supposedly could identify the gender of a writer based on word use in a piece of text (but it marked me out as male in two tests out of three!) If I can track it down I'll post you the link.

John Farrell said...

Gin is always an outstanding response.


CMinor said...

The instrument I mentioned above having been around since'03, you may have already encountered it. But here it is, anyway:
The Gender Genie

According to Mental Floss, it works like this:

In the most basic terms, the computational linguists behind the algorithm, Koppel and Argamon, took a bunch of fiction and looked for trends based on gender. Using complicated formulas, they determined that male writers tended to write more about specific things like an apple, a book, or the car. In contrast, female writers wrote about connections to things like my apple, your book, or our car. The nouns themselves (apple, book, car) didn’t matter much but the preceding qualifier, whether an article (a, an, the) or possessive (my, your, our), did.

It appears
I'm not the only one
for whom this method of sampling doesn't work very well.

Anonymous said...


Hypothetically, yes.

Mary Ellen said...

I'm jealous that you have a wife that agrees with you on most issues. I'm very much a "practicing" husband left the Church. I'm an Independent and becoming more Conservative the older I husband is an (oh, it's so hard to say..) Obot. Ugh. husband doesn't even read my blog let alone co-write it.

You are both very lucky.