But enough with the complimentary hullabaloo; that's not my forté. (Although,
And so, here we are. There will be no pictures of me today dressed up like an asshole. Nor will I be dropping subliminal messages suggesting that you should dump slime à la You Can't Do That On Television on anyone wearing madras or douche-denim. In fact, today I'm not even going to mention fashion and the dishabille doo-doo DC's denizens drop day-to-day. (D-lightful! See Mr. Pollan? I need help!)
Nope. Instead, I'm going to deride what quite possibly is the most retardulously written article I've ever read in the Post. In fact, this might be the worst written article I've read in any American newspaper...ever. Wait, I take that back. It might be the second worst. The first worst -- hands down -- goes to Gene Weingarten's "Pearls Before Breakfast," which somehow, quite mysteriously, in fact, won the Pulitzer Prize. In short, it's a nearly 7,400-word article on how DC is chock full of assholes because commuters failed to stop in their
[Necessary sidebar: First off, it's not rude nor is it a sign of the erosion of our collective humanity if people don't stop to listen to some bitch -- although arguably a bitch with more talent in his left eyebrow than I will ever have in my left eyebrow -- with a violin in L'Enfant Plaza, which is quite possibly the gnarliest place in DC. That sh*t is ugly. Bon Jovi could've been playing and I wouldn't have stopped. OK, I probably wouldn't stop for Bon Jovi anywhere. Billy Joel, Wang Chung, The Fat Boys (well, I'd stop for the Fat Boys). But you get the idea. In other words, the only thing Weingarten's article proved was that the metro smells, having a job sucks and the Pulitzer committee was getting paid off by someone.]
But getting back to takin' care of business: What could have almost topped Weingarten's drivel? Wil Haygood's drivel. And no, I neither misspelled nor made that name up.
Mr. Haygood penned an article called "Lonely, Dark and Deep," and while it sounds like the title of a personal ad you'd find on Craigslist's Casual Encounters (not that I'm looking or anything...), or, um, a stanza from a Robert Frost poem (but aren't those two things not at least a little similar?), it has nothing to do with either. It's about some killer (ooooo!). OK, it is creepy, and the actual story is a bit interesting (unlike the predictable Weingarten set-up), but the writing is -- and I'll aim to keep my criticism both constructive and professional here -- totally sh*tastic.
In fact, I have to take back what I said about the story. I actually don't know if it's interesting because I couldn't bear to read it from start to finish. I started to feel physically ill halfway through. At first I thought my nauseousness was due to the several ounces of brie I consumed instead of a real dinner. But then I remembered that brie is effing delicious and realized that my feeling of near-hurl was due to the choppy, cheesy chiché-filled writing style with which
Haygood writes: "All manner of animals feast in the deep woods along this lovely stretch of mountains."
I write: Really? "All manner of animals?" Is he joking? Is that even proper English? And that's how you're going to start this series? REALLY?!
Haygood writes: "The man's eyes danced all over the fish."
I write: Again, really? Is this cheesed out personification really necessary? Ugh. It's cheap romance novel writing, is it not? Here, let's see. "As Lorenzo's silky pirate shirt buckled under the pressure of his throbbing pecs, the sun gently kissed his buttcheeks. Lorenzo was dressed as he always was -- in assless chaps." (Hmm...not bad, actually. Perhaps, that's how I can get on the NYT bestseller list...) But you know, if Wil was going to use this sort of eye-roll-inducing writing technique, at least he could have made it memorable. How's about, "The man's eyes krumped all over the fish." I could get behind that.
Haygood writes: "There was a gentle breeze, like feathers swirling."
I write: What? "Feathers swirling?" Do feathers "swirl?" Toilet water swirls, sure. But I don't think I've ever heard of feathers "swirling." Seriously, if you're going to use a non-sensical simile, at least choose something that you can picture like, "There was a gentle breeze, like angels hurling." Again, I could get behind that.
Haygood writes: "Just as darkness fully descended on this remote mountain like a dark blanket over the eyes..."
I write: You know what? I'm super glad Mr. Haygood used an adjective to describe the blanket as "dark" especially when comparing it to the concept of "darkness." Because imagining darkness coming on like a plain, nondescript blanket over one's eyes just flies over my head. Oh wait. No, no it doesn't. They're both stupid clichés. But not only is Haygood's version stupid, it's also redundant. And repetitive. And reiterative. But mostly it's just stupid.
That last one made me run to the bathroom and not even for something cool, like sniffing cocaine through a crisp 100 euro bill off the backside of a midget hooker. Wait, what? Forget I said that. What I mean is, sh*tty writing in renowned publications seriously makes me feel physically ill. I'm not kidding. It's like seeing a really sh*tty band like Good Charlotte
And I'm sure Mr. Haygood is talented. From what I was physically able to handle, the story arch was decent and the actual story seemed interesting enough, but the writing just ruined it. Perhaps it's the editor's fault then? Wait...no...I'm joking. The editor probably has some hiring power (and, you know, I freelance...just sayin'...), so let's just keep the blame squarely on Wil, who's getting an e-wag of the finger right now. Yet, here I am, still envious of him. *sigh*
OK, so, which major publication wants to hire me? Come on! I would make a tight ombudsman, no?
*Sick with the urge to write for you, Washington Post! E-mail me, editors!