Dissection: An Interactive Activity for Your Box of Affirmations

[Note: I would post the link to this if I weren't afraid of being caught, but I am, so I won't. I'm trying to focus on this mangled corpse of a paragraph as a pedagogical example rather than a dead varmint on the side of the road.]

What you are about to read is one of the most atrocious paragraphs ever published about Wilco. In the comments section, I want to find out what you would have said to the writer in order to improve her writing. Seriously. I had that chance repeatedly and I never knew what to tell her, aside from "stop drinking Malibu while you write" and "think again before you use ardor as a verb," etc. All I know is that when someone evokes "the human spirit" I feel I'm headed for serious trouble.

While Tweedy successfully uses pathos in his
music, portraying and reaching into the essence of the human spirit, he also uses his dazzling talent on guitar, backed by his bandmates’ prolific expertise,
to fill out the songs that move so dauntingly. The experimentally expressive “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” would not have peaked had it not been for guitarist Nels Cline’s outstanding noise-inducing comma. Getting lost in the momentous extractions of static and tweaks was like being trapped in a box of affirmations.

[Note: My patron saint at the Language Log has developed a grammar that falls between prescriptive and descriptive: reactive grammar. Also known informally over beer and pretzels as WTF grammar. Defined very loosely, it's the reaction you have to the paragraph above. Thank you, sir!]


Blogger Demiblog said...

Eric Hughes? Is that you? I always thought Wilco was below you, considering your indie rock sensibilities...

3:50 PM  

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