20 December 2010

America by Heart: Wherein I attempt diagrams.

Okay, you know what? Let's go into the writing in America by Heart by Sarah Palin. We're still not even out of the introduction, but this ideological stuff is boring.

The writing is terrible.  It is terrible in a sweeping, grand way not accessible by most mortals.  She has tapped into some kind of miraculous divine power, channeled its might through her moosemeat-laden frame, so that she can express herself through these mightily mangled glomptions of folksy metaphors.

No, "glomptions" isn't a word. Sufficiently hateful words do not exist. I must coin new ones to convey my displeasure with prose of this caliber:

I think I've figured out the reason why [audiences love the Constitution]. I have a kind of internal compass that keeps me sane and grounded when the media attack dogs bark and the days on the road get long. No surprise, I keep my internal compass pointed due north, to where my roots are. My family and my faith are my greatest sources of support. They are my true north.

So Sarah Palin has a compass that keeps her grounded at those times when dogs bark and days get long. The compass points due north to some roots.

This sentence is insane.

I have taken the liberty of illustrating it for you.  Here is what she is saying.

You may have thought you knew how bad a mixed metaphor could get. You were wrong. Sarah Palin is teaching us a master's level course in how not to write.

That's not an isolated incident, either. Palin regularly indulges in metaphors whose quality ranks just slightly below Chinese drywall. It seems like she just grabs a cliche and crams it in there, no matter what's in the way. That's why a path is a symptom.

But Americans are coming to understand that the irresponsible fiscal path we're on is just a symptom of a more serious disease.

Her authorial sins are more than just a dangerous addiction to metaphor. She also has no idea how to compose a clear idea. Her writing flows about as smoothly as year-old yogurt.

In short, the people holding the uniformly printed signs have their hands out; Washington is spending away our kids' future and they still want more. But the people holding the homemade signs are the ones paying the bills.

Wait, who is what?

Palin can't make her sentences anything less than elaborate Chinese puzzles, that snag your attention like a finger-trap.  When she gets another idea halfway through or during a later revision, she just adds in a comma and chucks it on there.  Look at this!

Truth be told, they're old ideas, not just the notion that our government should be limited, but also that all men and women are equal before the law; that life is sacred; and that God is the source of our rights, not government.

What the hell?! What is this nightmarish monstrosity?

Sarah Palin, there is nothing that can't be forgiven in writing.  ee. cummings abandoned stylistic conventions, Gertrude Stein derided the idea of allusions, and James Joyce pretty much just ground a handful of dirt in the face of a linear narrative.  But you have to be good to do that.  Not a half-crazed comma-spewing natterer.  Stick to simple sentences, because your complex ones read like someone lost a game of Jenga.

This is my America, from my heart, and by my heart. I give it now to my children and grandchildren, and to yours, so they will always know what it was like in America when people were free.

Sarah Palin is a bad writer.

1 comment:

  1. HaHaaa! I enjoy tearing apart bad writers, and all the better when it's Sarah Palin!