Writing "Down" to Readers Vs. Ascending, E. B. White

"Communication by the written word is a more subtler (and more beautiful thing) than Dr. Flesch and General Motors imagine. They contend that the “average reader” is capable of reading only what tests Easy, and that the writer should write at or below this level. This is a presumptuous and degrading idea. There is no average reader, and to reach down toward this mythical character is to deny that each of us is on the way up, is ascending. (“Ascending,” by the way, is a word Dr. Flesch advises writers to stay away from. Too unusual.) … It is my belief that no writer can improve his work until he discards the dulcet notion that the reader is feebleminded, for writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar. Ascent is at the heart of the matter … and a writer who questions the capacity of the person at the other end of the line is not a writer at all, merely a schemer. The movies long ago decided that a wider communication could be achieved by a deliberate descent to a lower level, and they walked proudly down until they reached the cellar. Now they are groping for the light switch, hoping to find the way out”. – E. B. White, Calculating Machine, Poems and Sketches