Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Wonder Woman was laid up with a nasty cold last night, so I cooked dinner. As I was laying out ingredients, Freddie trundled downstairs and allowed he needed help with his homework. I told him to bring it downstairs, lay it out on the kitchen counter, and we'd work together while I cooked.

He's learning about prefixes. The assignment was to take three assigned prefixes ("ante-," "post-" and "bi-"), find two words employing each, and use them in two sentences each.

We got to "post," and he found "postwar" in his Webster's. He solicited a suggestion as to an appropriate sentence.

"How about 'The President planned for the postwar situation'?"

He started to write.

"Hey, but wait a minute," I said after a moment's thought. "Not quite true, is it.... I think it might be better 'The President didn't plan for the postwar situation."

He grinned a little, happy to get in a little subversive dig. He's good that way.

I pondered some more. I began to compose something a bit more, shall we say, compound:

"Taking advice exclusively from a tightly closed coterie of self-satisfied, ideologically blinkered sycophants in expensive suits who had themselves never been within a thousand miles of a shot fired in anger, gulling an apathetic public with a mindbendingly oversimplistic vision of American liberators being greeted with sweets and flowers by a grateful, cheering Iraqi public whose only thought was of forming off into Whigs and Federalists and drafting a Constitution second only to our own in its wisdom and humaneness -- and not, for example, looting every unguarded building (that is to say, every building but the Oil Ministry) down to its electrical wiring and faucet taps -- through his proxies denouncing as a traitor any person who expressed doubt about the benefits of an unprovoked preemptive war of choice against an enemy whose danger to this country was, to be kind, greatly exaggerated if not blatantly lied about in a coordinated campaign of misinformation, and failing to account for an international insurgency movement that is ideologically bent on pushing anything remotely Western into the Mediterranean -- a development that was, it must be observed, predicted with complete accuracy by many of those selfsame people who were denounced as traitors for even entertaining the idea that not every half-baked, half-assed, but wholly self-righteous thing America does in the world is of universal benefit -- the President, in a fashion completely in keeping with his lifelong proven record of intellectual laziness, dismally poor self-discipline, and achingly self-evident sense of enormous personal entitlement, clearly did not plan for the postwar situation, and now has a 30% approval rating in the polls to show for it. Asshole."

We went with the earlier draft.


XTCfan said...

Well, of course you did. You wouldn't have wanted Freddie to get dinged for that doozy of a run-on sentence. (Though the other one is quite pithy.)

Thee you later!

fgfdsg said...

I thumb my nose at Strunk. I know Run-On Sentences are considered bad style, but that's failing to take into account just how damn humourous they can be. They're also a closer approximation of how people actually speak, especially when they're in rant mode.

A good run-on rant is a wonder to behold, as was Neddie's example.

I'm reminded of English DJ Kenny Everett's famous quote in 1982 that resulted in his dismissal from the BBC:

"When England was a kingdom, we had a king. When we were an empire, we had an emperor. Now we're a country ... and we have Margaret Thatcher".

Akatabi said...

The President's worldview is antediluvian, his speech is post-ischemic, and his intellect that of a bivalve.

H. Rumbold, Master Barber

Blue Wren said...

I stand humbled, overawed. That's one hell of a sentence. Young Freddie is in good hands.
Run-on sentences are only frowned upon when the reader is lost in the middle, having forgotten what the sentence was about in the first place. This one, however, holds together beautifully.

John B. said...

and completely true...better than thruthiness...

Anonymous said...

Roll over Faulkner! w00t!