I suspect, given that 2008 carries The Most Important Election Since The Last One, that a lot of this year’s Worst Writing will be politically inspired. I’m reasoning from a trend of exactly two entries – Ezra Klein’s laborious handjob to Obama on The American Prospect‘s website, and the winner below – but I feel that’s fair and scientifically valid.
Anyhow, here’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, the editor of National Review (and thus, per Worst Writing’s rules, a valid target in any forum), firing off a quickie blog post:
As I said to Michael Medved on a radio show today, the issue — with some exceptions — is issues.
… okay, what’s the semantic content of that sentence? What exactly is being said here? Even if we excuse the mealy redundancy that’s a cheap substitute for being profound (“the issue … is issues”), the “with some exceptions” completely invalidates it. When you start off vague and then qualify your vagueness, you’re not just saying nothing – you’re wasting your readers’ time.
This is primary season, and this is the time to debate record and temperament. I think I agree with Jonah that some perspective is in order — but what does conservative mean? What is a conservative candidate? Do we have one? Etc. [sic] are debates to have now, before it’s too late
The formatting there is atrocious; I think KJL’s trying to say that the debate over “what makes a candidate conservative” is a debate to have during primary season, not later. If you read everything after “I think I agree …” as one sentence, and not four sentences and a fragment, it makes sense. Still …
Sorry, not as much gristle on this bone – hers was a short blog post. But that lead sentence alone struck me hard enough to merit a nomination. Congratulations, National Review!
(thanks to Sadly,No! for the tip)