Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
In my last post I proposed a distinction between writing and what might be called writering -- a sort of pretend writing, or writing in order to feel like a writer rather than to produce anything readable. In a couple of long comments that followed my post, reader "ryanwc"suggested that if I was trying to separate professionals from amateurs I was barking up the wrong tree."There's a lot of professional writeryness in the dailies," he said, offering as an example a Wednesday Tribune op-ed he considered windy and slackly reasoned.
Taking ryancw's point for the sake of argument, let's consider the lead to John Kass's Wednesday column:
"Sen. Roland 'Tombstone' Burris (D-Lying Weasel) hatches his lies by the minute; they bubble out of his mouth like insect larvae from the mud. Once their wings are dry, they launch from our senator's lips and buzz."
Is this writing or writering?
Kass is clearly a pro. Moreover, Burris is a lollipop right in his wheelhouse, a political hack trying to double-talk his way out of trouble. Is it writering to take too hard a swing at too fat a pitch and fall flat on your keister? No. That happens to the best.
Kass wasn't writering. He was Writing. Some might go so far as to say he was WRITING. The sin of writering is very different from these.
Actually, Kass's prose served a purpose. In the same edition, the Tribune editorial telling Burris to resign was etched in language blunt and austere by comparison. The editorial began:
"The benefit of the doubt had already been stretched thin and taut by the time Roland Burris offered his third version of the events leading to his appointment to the U.S. Senate. It finally snapped like a rubber band, popping him on that long Pinocchio nose of his, when he came out with version four."