Pothead Obama’s Five Tips For Good Pothead Writing

  just wing it baby

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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Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

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