07 February 2010

Floral Prose

From The New York Times: A Storm Part Crippling and Part Enchanting:
A blizzard that had forecasters reaching for superlatives engulfed the nation’s capital and the mid-Atlantic states on Saturday with record snowfalls that paralyzed transportation, commerce and all but emergency services. But it transformed the weekend into an enchanted snowbound adventure for millions.
Starts out promising (that's the lede) -- but then it just goes off the rails, using the very superlatives that the writer makes fun of weathermen for using in their excitement about being in the spotlight:
The hard edges of Washington were softened as the snow recast the capital of monuments and malls into a postcard town of soft ice cream shapes that had been statues and aerodynamic blobs that had been parked cars: the buried machines of a lost civilization. The Capitol and the White House vanished in the whiteout, cross-country skiers appeared in parks and the Potomac was a grayish plate of pewter.
I kind of like the language, but so weird to see in the A-section of the Sunday Times, right? These types of paragraphs were peppered between straight-news writing with snowfall totals and service suspensions.

To be fair, I read to the end, although in part to make fun of it. And then I went and looked it up online so I could write about (and link to it) here ... so maybe the writing served its purpose. Here's the final graf, which rivals the "hard edges" paragraph for flowery writing:
On the National Mall in Washington, cross-country skiers and children on sleds moved through the storm like ghosts, padded and muffled to the eyes. Sounds were distant and subdued. The trees were magical: dark limbed, looped and netted, with flourishes of white lace. And in the distance, the Capitol standing like a sentinel in the storm.
Our weather in the city is bright and blustery. Very cold, but not dangerous. Although the Super Bowl is on in a few hours, Shawn and I are going to brave the bitter winds to try to see a movie, hoping that the game will mean the theater will be less crowded. I just hope my cough remains at bay. Quite tired of being sick.

Stye update: not any worse. Warm compresses may be helping, and the medication/ointment says it just alleviates symptoms of burning, itching or stinging, none of which I have. So I passed on paying $10 ... for now.

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