Sarah Palin wrote the sentence. Wink, wink.
Here’s one of the funniest things we’ve ever seen. Over at Slate.com, KevClark64 posted the following sentence from an autobiography:
11/18/2009, 1:09 PM
Under “Sentence, actual” how about this beauty:
“The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn’t work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle.”
Wow! That wouldn’t make it through freshman English class, and I mean high school, not college. What’s the sentence about anyway? The apartment? The gas station? The Doberman? How about sticking with one complete thought before going on to three more? Just goes to show that some people should stick with politics and give up any presumptions of being a writer.
That sent the pack of liberal coyotes howling. Sarah Palin wrote it! Sarah Palin wrote it! Numerous comments followed, each attacking Palin’s poor writing skills:
11/18/2009, 1:23 PM
The black Doberman belonged to Sarah, because she didn’t want no stinkin’ liberal visitors, and that’s why they made sure the buzzer downstairs didn’t work, too, and, oh, the Doberman was always carrying around an empty beer bottle, because Sarah and Todd had trained it to get rid of all their beer bottles after they were done with drinkin’ ’em, on account of they didn’t want their place lookin’ like a buncha white trash lived there!
See how easy that was?
And the floors were all slanting towards the right, of course.
11/18/2009, 1:45 PM
That’s great, all it needed was the lead-in “It was a dark and stormy night.” Great stuff!
I remember well the breathless, run-on sentences of my High School days…:)
The Bulwer-Lytton Bad Writing Contest
11/18/2009, 1:46 PM
That sentence by Sarah Palin could be entered into the annual Bulwer-Lytton bad writing contest.
It could have a chance at winning a honorable mention, at any rate.
Then KevClark64 came back to spring a little surprise on the libs:
Re: Sentence, actual
11/18/2009, 1:50 PM
I probably should have mentioned that the sentence quoted above was not written by Sarah Palin. It’s taken from the first paragraph of Dreams from My Father, written by Barack Obama.
While some readers realized what a brilliant “gotcha” moment it was and laughed, others suddenly reversed course and decided that the sentence was no longer awful, but was, in fact, brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Re: Sentence, actual
11/18/2009, 3:24 PM
There is nothing wrong with this particular sentence. Although Americans prefer the abbreviated version of the English language (both grammar and the vocabulary) it is fairly commonplace for highly educated people (especially in GB) to use complex sentences with the full range of dependencies allowed by the language. Not all written word is a TV commercial or a Hollywood movie with a guiding principle of not confusing stupid people.
We’re not here to judge whether Obama’s sentence was good or bad. Although we must admit that our feeble conservative brains certainly had trouble following his point by the time he reached his second independent clause.
Our training is in advertising. We believe in short sentences. Punchy sentences (see, we just did one).
But we find it hilarious that Slate.com’s posters laughed their asses off when they thought Sarah Palin wrote the sentence, then reversed course and decided it was brilliant as soon as they learned Obama wrote it.
At least we think Obama wrote it.
Might have been William Ayers.
(See? More of those short, punchy advertising sentences.)