Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I think we need a contest

Tell me, dear readers, is the following sentence the worst sentence to ever appear on McMegan's blog?

The stuff I saw city officials do knowing that I was a particularly dedicated reporter watching them closely convinced me that during the many times when no one was watching -- for months before I got hired at that newspaper and months after I left, for example -- they were serving the public even less well.

I've encountered more interesting and readable passages in the reading comprehension section of the GRE's. Let me take your hand while I attempt to parse this insult to the English language.

1) Conor Oberst Friedersdorf saw city officials do "stuff."
2) These officials "knew" (obviously, these officials were gnostics) that Conor Bright Lies was a "particularly dedicated reporter" (why the eff is he "particularly dedicated?" Why did Conor feel that being just a "dedicated reporter" insufficiently expressed his point? In addition to being a "particularly dedicated reporter", Conor "watch[ed] them closely"--just in case you thought that having the properties of being a "particularly dedicated reporter" did not contain "watching" the subject of the reporting.)
3) Because Conor saw these officials do bad things, they must do worse things when he didn't see them.
4) The time that Conor "wasn't there" observing city officials includes the time before he was there and the time after he was there.
5) Please ignore the possibility that these officials didn't care about Conor, and didn't alter their behavior when a prepubescent reporter from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin was in the room.

Can the Geneva Conventions be applied to syntax so that we can stop this torture?

I should add that I'm not looking for blogging in the style of Chuck Palahniuk, but I do think you could reduce Conor's sentence to this:

"The horrible things I saw city officials do when I was watching them suggests that they did even worse things when I wasn't there."

1 comment:

Clever Pseudonym said...

I don't know. I think "...though to be fair many of them cannibalize the reportorial content of newspapers, itself paid for by print advertising" is a pretty close second.