JUST WING IT BABY  2:35 pm June 1, 2012

Pothead Obama’s Five Tips For Good Pothead Writing

by Jim Newell

The realest photo everYahoo has published more excerpts from David Maraniss’ Barack Obama: The Story, mostly about how much he loved getting drunk and high and drag racing and then getting high again, while writing gay letters to ladies. Grow up, Obama of 30-35 years ago! But Maraniss was also able to get his hands on a list of writing tips Obama once sent a friend whose manuscript he’d overlooked. Just who does this elitist think he is, an elitist? It’s not like Bill Ayers needed any of Obama’s “tips” to write Dreams from My Father.

Here’s the nitpicky list:

1) “Careful about too many adverbs, particularly describing how people speak (Paul asked disbelievingly, etc.) It can be cumbersome and a bit intrusive on the reader”

2) “Resist the temptation of easy satire…Good satire has to be a little muted. Should spill out from under a seemingly somber situation.”

Ha ha, two tips in and he has already destroyed Wonkette.

3) “Try to get the basic stats on the characters out of the way early {Paul was 24} so that you can spend the rest of the story revealing character.”

4) “Think about the key moment(s) in the story, and build tension leading to those key moments.”

5) “[W]rite outside your own experience…I find that this works the fictive imagination harder.”

It’s not a perfect match, but let’s compare these writing tips to those in George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language, your Wonkette writer’s favorite essay.

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

George Orwell was a better writer than Barack Obama. We should all vote for Mitt Romney, now.

[Yahoo]

 
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{ 122 comments }

Barb June 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm

6. Submit the picture and don't just "noun shout."

A fun sized Snickers bar to the first person who understands this reference.

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

You saw my tweet to Editrix, so you know I did

Barb June 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Nah, I saw her post. You are disqualified.

DustBowlBlues June 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Oh, noes. Now we have to twitter, too? I knew I should have written my username and password down somewhere. Damn. (Even sadder, I actually did write it down and now can't find it or the password for my Google account, so now I am officially fucked more than usual.

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm
Barb June 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Chet wins!

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Oh sure! I go and try to do the heavy lifting of making that an Internet tradition, but he gets my candy!

Barb June 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Lol, I'll give you one too.

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Hey, let's turn it into something like the "Ring Shout"!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_shout

At the next Wonkette Meetup, we'll all gather in a circle, rhythmically swaying and shouting out nouns and random sarcasm until we are exhausted in a pile of human snark!

MittBorg June 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Oh, like we were gonna do any *different.*

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Dug this up for ya:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U2xTslu21w

Now tell me what you're havin' for dinner. I want to know every herb and spice!

MittBorg June 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I have passed it on to the wide world of Twitter. Very impressive. And all made new again. So many hidden treasures that survived through slavery time! Did you read Wole Soyinka, You Must Set Forth At Dawn, where he discusses the musical traditions imparted to the world through the African diaspora?

Oy, you!

Fish noodle soup (it's a slight variation on Burmese mohinga, since I can't get some of the ingredients here)

firm white fish, large prawns in shell, blachan (shrimp paste from Indonesia), fish or chicken stock, garlic, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, hot chilli powder, fish sauce
Raw baby greens,coconut milk, hot Thai chilies, cilantro and green onions for garnish.

The stock is heated with the coconut milk at a low simmer on a back burner and poured over the assembled dish. The prawns are peeled and deveined, and a stock made from their shells fried in oil with 1-2 cloves of garlic, and water, which is added to the stock on the back burner to give it a sweet taste. The fish is cut into large pieces, rubbed with the turmeric and chilly powder and salt to taste, and the remaining spices, roasted and ground, and then fried with the onions and squash. Fresh Chinese wheat noodles are best, but rice sticks or bean threads can also be used, and even dried pasta is OK. Should be a thin noodle, though. Cook prawns with garlic, fish sauce, and snow peas.

Assemble the raw greens in the bowl, top with prawns, fish curry and sauce, and pour hot stock over. Garnish with LOTS of hot chilli and herbs. If it doesn't blow your socks off, check your pulse, as you may already be dead and not know it.

Barb June 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I imagine it more like, "Hi, wanna dance?"
"Wrong verb."

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Shout, shout, let it all out…

DustBowlBlues June 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Just as long as no one has drums.

Chichikovovich June 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I think Detroit has suffered enough.

Come here a minute June 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Why would Obama so disparagingly write to his friend?

MittBorg June 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Because he's an elitist, duh!

TribecaMike June 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Hey, that's how Kenyans roll. It's just a cultural thing.

Dashboard Buddha June 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I'm pretty good with satire…or as I call it, blunt force trauma.

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm

2) “Resist the temptation of easy satire…Good satire has to be a little muted. Should spill out from under a seemingly somber situation.”

OK, THAT'S ENOUGH!

President Obama has declared WAR on Wonkette, 35 years in the future!

ARE WE GOING TO LET THIS STAND, my fellow (and sister) Wonketeers?

Blueb4sunrise June 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I'll let it stand for as long as this UAV is circling.

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

*glancing up*

Not that, you know, there's anything wrong with a good criticism constructively made…

DustBowlBlues June 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I don't even know what that UAV is, but I already know I don't like it

DustBowlBlues June 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Ugh, yeah, pretty much.

tihond June 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm

THIS IS WONKETTE! (Rips off shirt, well-oiled and ready for battle)

TribecaMike June 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Drag racing? Chalk up another reason to like the guy. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3005/2577021946_27

HogeyeGrex June 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Sure, but I don't know how they manage in those heels.

TribecaMike June 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Clever!

Blueb4sunrise June 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

That's from the Sharia and Whahab Manual of Style!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Hm, maybe those should be combined: wasabi, maybe?

Jus_Wonderin June 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

"Beam my up, Scotty", is still okay, right?

MittBorg June 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

That depends. My WHAT?

Jus_Wonderin June 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

DAMN! I can't spell to save my………………………………………………………

vodkamuppet June 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm

6) Always blame spelling errors on auto-correct.

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

4) “Think about the key moment(s) in the story, and build tension leading to those key moments.”

SHORTER OBAMA: Fap harder the closer you get.

BarackMyWorld June 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Is this what conservatives mean when they say we're over-regulated?

Crank_Tango June 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Is there a link to the Wonkette Manual of Style for Snarky Communications? I am still unclear on the preferred spelling, is it buttseks or buttsechs?

MissTaken June 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

(ii) Always use a long word where a short one will do.

So, buttsechs.

BarackMyWorld June 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm

And balls. Also.

Tommmcattt June 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I am a staunch defender of buttsecks, I'm afraid.

Dashboard Buddha June 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm

"he loved getting drunk and high and drag racing and then getting high again, while writing gay letters to ladies."

Wasn't this is in some other book? I don't think any of this is news.

WeHaveIssues June 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Hellerrrr Wonkette – apropos of nothing, you do realize Riley Waggamans' blog hasn't been updated since September 23, 2011? [delete from blogroll] Cute only gets you so far.

Tommmcattt June 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Yeah, but Riley is also nubile.

Mumbletypeg June 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Keep the blog listing; just change it to "nomorerileywaggsplease.com"~

sezme June 2, 2012 at 11:10 am

9/23/11 … Wasn't that when all those wars spontaneously ended? Or maybe it was when Breitbart died (same thing).

CivicHoliday June 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I dunno, ii and v sound like a great way to achieve mass appeal but not a great way to challenge a reader and suitably take advantage of the depth and variety of the english language. Reminds me of why I always preferred to read Camus in the original french. (*oh snap my elitism is showing…time to buy bigger pants*)

Dildeaux June 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I blame Obama for creating the toxic environment which requires there to be books written about how bad a person Obama was and is. He's just so polarizing!!1! What could be the reason? Im perplexed….

Jus_Wonderin June 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Using actual list numbers, instead of simple bullets, is characteristic of this presidents need to show how he is more, extra specialous than we common folks.

weejee June 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

Guess George Will is not Orwellian and I always thought he was such a little Squealer.

Schmannnity June 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Madrassas teach writing, not just Koran memorization? Who knew?

MittBorg June 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm

That's "QuranIC memorization" to you, infidel.

DalePues June 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I follow those rules (have them on a sheet of paper taped to my desk), so I never publish anything.

MittBorg June 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Me too! It's why I never WRITE anything.

MissTaken June 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm

The total lack of "add lotsa exclamation points!!!, keep CAPS LOCK on at ALL TIMES, and throw in some 9/11" proves that Obama is not a REAL AMERICAN.

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm

AMERCIA LIBEL!!!!!

Gratuitous World June 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Mr. President, this is pretty interestzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

coolhandnuke June 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm

6) Just read from the fucking teleprompter…it'll drive the wingnuts to batshit levels.

ManchuCandidate June 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I have in my hand the Teabagger Style Gide.

Top For Tips for Rittin
1) Don't use "niger" unless it fits.
2) Always point to Ronny Raygan.
3) USE ALL CAPS
4) Logic, nuance or even wit has no place in rittin.
5) Spellin'gs for pussees and foggity liebruls
5) Weeevuh US Amercia, troops, starbursts and Kenyan into each paragraf
9) Tax kuts alwayz.

Poindexter718 June 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm

10. Unexpected quotation "marks" can add a "sense" of wonderment and mystery to "your prose" and needn't be confined to indicating irony or that someone sez it.

MissTaken June 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I "like" this.

SorosBot June 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Leonard likes this post.

MissTaken June 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm

☺☼♂♣♥◙♫

C_R_Eature June 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

11. aLlwAys Use UnexPecTeD RAndoM caPitalIZatION

12. MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS AND ONES!!!1!!11

DahBoner June 2, 2012 at 7:46 am

Actually, #11 is Punk style. Or ransome notes…

C_R_Eature June 2, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I have seen that stylistic form used, infuriatingly, on RW sites to spell out "Teleprompter". I have no idea why.

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Tax Kutz® is the new teabag barber shop chain. 20 flat screens all tuned to FOX News all the time! Leggy blonde hair-cutters! Shootin' range while-u-wait!!1!

Buckminster June 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Magic underwear automatically trumps the need for anything factual in your account? Is that a rule, too?

Buckminster June 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Allas beggin by calling the other ritter a communist, socialist or unamurican.

sharethegrief June 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm

…never use a scientific word… is also in the Republican Manifesto.

johnnyzhivago June 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Drag racing??? I guess NASCAR was too good for Mr. Writes-Words-A-Lot

BTW Rule #6 – Use Teleprompter

SexySmurf June 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm

6. No threatening to skullfuck your opponents.

7. No mocking Willow's youngest brother.

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

7. No mocking Willow's younger brother.

Tripp?

Tide?

Semprini?

C_R_Eature June 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Trogg?

Tr[REDACTED]g?

Poindexter718 June 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm

WONKETTE COROLLARY to 1) : "Cold" as an adverb cold works everytime and, by definition, cannot be overdone.

StarsUponThars June 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Maraniss rhymes with cannabis. So there you go.

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

There are some pretty amazing anecdotes in that yahoo article.

johnnyzhivago June 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Adverbs are practically the type of word white America loves the most!

Typical!

PubOption June 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I thought the red-state contingent preferred to use use adjectives as adverbs.

coolhandnuke June 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

6) Always use "bong" instead of medical delivery device.

Generation[redacted] June 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm

More writing advice from Obammers:

If you need a teleprompterz, have Bill Ayres ghost write for you

Nibbler of Niblonia June 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Was the novel written by Israel? Because Obama will jump at any chance to insult Israel.

randcoolcatdaddy June 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I find the grammar of this post difficult to fap to.

Generation[redacted] June 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Stop apologizing for Amercia's writing!!11!

Joshua Norton June 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm

getting drunk and high and drag racing and then getting high again

Do you wear high heels for drag racing?

PubOption June 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm

And full make up.

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm

The Cock-Blocker In Chief!

8. Obama thought the world would be a better place without clothes, especially when nice-looking ladies were around.

Allegedly stoned and drunk one night at Occidental, Obama and a friend stopped to talk to an attractive girl and "Barry launched into a riff on nudity, offering his theory that the human race would be better off if people did not wear clothes. This declaration was made with the urgency of someone ready to strip then and there. …It seemed apparent that Barry was trying to seduce the woman right in front of" his friend who had a crush on the girl.

She appeared "sympathetic to the theoretical argument but not ready to put it into practice."

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm

*stripping down*

I'm ready for paradise!

C_R_Eature June 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm

You know who else had a nitpicky list of writing tips?

TanzbodenKoenig June 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm

My AP English teacher?

BornInATrailer June 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Calligraphers?

Fred_Wertham_Jr June 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Adolf Strunk?

James Michael Curley June 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I thought Rebecca banned calling people Maranisses?

Mumbletypeg June 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm

whose manuscript he’d overlooked

Didn't Flannery o'Connor say something to the effect that she wished editors "overlooked" the magnitude of profligate manuscripts more often than less?

SorosBot June 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Well of course you "get the basic stats on the characters out of the way early"; I mean that's the first thing you do when creating a new character, roll up the strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and charisma.

HogeyeGrex June 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm

He spent his first night in the big city outside, curled up in a nearby alleyway, and woke up with a white hen pecking at his face.

Right. Because there are so many fucking chickens wandering the streets of NY.

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Probably escaped from a Santeria ritual.

new_pic_for_NEWTer June 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Where all the white women (chickens) at?

Lionel[redacted]Esq June 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Orwell was a Socialist. You know who else was a Socialist?

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Hitler?

C_R_Eature June 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Reagan?

ttommyunger June 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm

We know he is left-handed, but we still don't know which hand he wipes with. This man has not yet been vetted, my friends.

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm

If he really was born in Kenya, he wipes with his left hand and eats with his right, even though he's a lefty. His grandma would have beat that into him. Get Breitbart's "Big Folkways" site on this immediately!!

ttommyunger June 2, 2012 at 6:54 am

I'm on it!

CountryClubJihadi June 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

He makes me want to wear a sarong and spark up a Krakatoa.

DustBowlBlues June 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm

"Ha ha, two tips in and he has already destroyed Wonkette."

Jim–I don't care if you do look like a teenager, don't let anyone tell you that you are not a national treasure. They kind they keep in the sub-basement of the Smithsonian.

DustBowlBlues June 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Easier advice than the time my online critique partner told me, "Can't make it past page 2 of Chap. 3. Scrap it."

elburritodeluxe June 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I guess he really turned his life around after he discovered radical Islam!

fuflans June 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Think about the key moment(s) in the story, and build tension leading to those key moments.

works for porn too.

Buckminster June 1, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Words to live by–both lists. I do like to throw around the occasional "schaffwolweich" however.

Buckminster June 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Actually, the most puzzling detail given in the source article is that he named his monkey "Tata." Obviously some Freudian slip? Goopers want to know.

gurukalehuru June 2, 2012 at 3:05 am

Could George Orwell sing Al Green? I doubt it.

hellbabe June 2, 2012 at 9:12 pm

god, if only he were elitist, instead of a pompous ass…..wish i'd read the book before i voted for him….not that it would really have made any difference.

actor212 June 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Can you smear it on your nipple first?

fuflans June 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm

wonderful as you are barb, i think these gentleman can procure their own candy. i happen to know – for a fact! – that snickers bars are available in BOTH ny and chicago.

Barb June 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

No.

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

To be nice for making us work late yesterday, our boss went and got us Starbucks, along with these chocolate-covered lollipops that were actually a round piece of cake on a stick. Goddamn, that was good!

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm

(Sated burp) So good!

SorosBot June 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Hah!

MittBorg June 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I wish I could cook it for you and your lovely wife, but I can give you the recipe and maybe you can surprise her with it some Valentine's day.

Chet Kincaid June 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

That's awfully nice of you!

MittBorg June 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I'll try to post it on my blog tonight, if not, tomorrow night. (Hugs Chet fondly) I feel like we're friends, you know. (Not rellies. I hate my fucking rellies.)

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