Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Short lesson in writing



Remember when you were, to be generous, a freshman in high school and your English teacher was all, "Ok, now we're going to learn about a thesis"? At least to me, the moment a thesis was explained, the rest was mother effing PIE for writing essays the rest of my school career. It's simple enough right? I can break it down to those a little rusty:

Intro Paragraph = Kickass opener --> Some quality BS --> Thesis asplainin' your main argument --> Possibly subcategories (topic sentences) to justify said argument.
Body Paragraphs = 300-1200 words of garbage that sound like they relate back to your argument.
Conclusion = Giant turd that sounds relevant to your intro's THESIS.

Hokay. So when you graduate into the highly sophisticated genre o' journalistic writing, this whole concept varies slightly to be this:

Headline: OH HEY LOOK A COOL STORY
Lede: WOW BAM HERE'S THE NEWS (Thesis)
Body Paragraphs: HERE'S MORE RELEVANT NEWS
Conclusion: WHO CARES BUT IT'S STILL RELATED TO MY LEDE.

I get that with a typical news story, the farther down you read in an article, the less important the info is. But I cannot STAAAAAND Jeff's level of uncorrelated sentences. He's in his prime with the Write Stuff bowel movement every Sunday but here's an example from yesterday that just really burned my biscuit:

Determined to show quality in life after war injuries

[Right, okay. So the story is going to be about how someone's appreciating their life post war. Got it.]

Posted: 04/28/2009 09:53:32 AM EDT


You may have caught it on the TV news recently -- Army Lt. Col. Greg Gadson walking determinedly around a track at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. If not, you missed something extraordinary.


You may have remembered him from the sidelines of New York Giants games. The team made him an honorary captain when it won the Super Bowl in February, 2008. He was in a wheelchair then.


And then there he was, walking with the aid of two canes for the benefit of the press. Two years ago in Iraq, his convoy was hit by an IED and Gadson lost both legs above the knee, which limits the effectiveness of traditional prosthetics.


But Gadson was walking with the aid of two bionic prosthetics, "Power Knees," developed by an Icelandic company. They are also "smart" knees, lightweight but packed with technology that anticipates his steps, rights his stumbles, keeps his balance and communicates with his therapist and trainer.


The first day on the new legs, he said, he fell a lot. Two days later, he walked a mile. The next day, he didn't fall at all. He told reporters that the Power Knees were the closest yet to "the feeling of a normal leg."


Gadson's ambitions are to be able to go shopping, graduate to one cane and, "Then we'll tackle stairs." He'll do it, too.


[This is all fine exposition, but... is there any mention at all of how he's feeling morale-wise? Did he battle depression and then turn around into this grateful, excited guy because of these new walking possibilities? WHERE'S THE BELL CURVE OF EMOTIONS? This is the whole article! Well, almost. I'm sure this last line will sum up everything to avoid any confu--]


Gadson's bionic legs underscore the truth of the old observation that wars are invariably a catalyst for major advances in medicine.


[EXSQUEEZE ME? Alright, I was going to avoid graphing this out because I am, of course, at work and should be focussing on formatting things into BU text, but I can't. ignore. this. fucking. non sequitur.]



If he had even remotely mentioned that this article was going to be about breakthroughs in technology, fine. All this is, is a barfed up version of what he must have been thinking about while, I'm assuming, eating a sandwich. There's no other explanation. WHYYYYY.



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