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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Buzz? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Alan already made fun of it, but I can't let today's Buffalo News "Buzz" column by Mary Kunz Goldman go by without noting what may just be the worst single paragraph I've ever read in a professional publication:

Foolishly optimistic, Buzz recently approached a Metro Rail ticket machine with our round-trip fare already counted out in quarters. The machine spit back four of five quarters before we gave up and began fishing for dollar bills. Our first single came back. We fed in another. Helpless, we heard a train clattering past below. The second single came back. We were getting nowhere fast! Almost as fast as a group of about 50 eighth-graders spotted at the Allen Street station, arguing about the fare. "It's free!" some were insisting. "It's not free!" others yelled. Finally a guy walked over and told them yes, you had to pay. And they were shepherded out, still squalling, "It's free!" "It's not free!" "It's free!" Ah, life's hard lessons.


Usually when we make fun of Goldman, it's on the grounds that her tone is usually insufferably peppy and her subject matter usually insufferably trite. But here's a graf that's just plain bad, bad, bad bad bad bad writing, from the prepositional mashup of "a train clattering past below" to the hairpin turn from one whine (the ticket machine's bill accepter) to the next (a bunch of kids). Do the editors at the News not understand why they have a coffee cup full of blue pencils on their desks?

And really, "life's hard lessons"? What hard lessons? Sometimes the bill acceptor won't take your dollar? Kids tend to not know shit about stuff?

Bad writer. Very bad writer. Abysmal writer. In the words of Professor Henry Higgins (via Alan Jay Lerner): "By right, she should be taken out and hung, for the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue!"

3 comments:

Craig said...

It's really sad, isn't it. I mean, the Buffalo News finally hires a self-identified Republican columnist and -- this is what we get.

I'm quite sure it's a mainstream media conspiracy to make us all look stupid. I can do that on my own, thank you very much.

Jaquandor said...

Well, she doesn't really comment all that often on her Republican-ness, if that's any consolation.

She's been with the News for years, actually, but she only got elevated to columnist status a year or two ago. Why they did this is beyond me. She's out of her depth on any topic other than classical music (and frankly, every time Hermann Trotter comes out of retirement to pen a review, he puts her to shame as well).

Alan said...

She is insufferable, and whenever someone else picks up on the fact of her awfulness, I don't feel quite so bad that I rag on her so much.