Besides being one of his recent best, Mark Steyn’s new column is a mini master class for writers.
First, because it’s about words: their misuse, and their power — or, in Obama’s case, their lack of power, as his vaunted (and exaggerated) oratorical skills are already failing him.
Second, because if you look carefully, you’ll see a great example of one of those hard-to-imitate Mark Steyn “moves”. His use of cliches is a bit like Oscar Wilde’s, if less aphoristic; watch and learn:
As he did with his Copenhagen pitch for the Olympics, he put his personal prestige on the line, raised the stakes, and then failed to deliver. All those cool kids on his speechwriting team bogged him down in the usual leaden sludge. He went to the trouble of flying in to phone it in.
Now, hundreds of columnists this week used the expressions “phone it in,” and mentioned Obama “flying in,” but nobody put them together.
Also: have you ever noticed how many novels (especially written by Canadians) are about… novelists? That’s what those Masters degrees in Creative Writing get you.
Steyn writes today:
Whenever aspiring writers ask me for advice, I usually tell ’em this:
Don’t just write there, do something. Learn how to shingle a roof, or tap-dance, or raise sled dogs. Because if you don’t do anything, you wind up like Obama and Fineman – men for whom words are props and codes and metaphors but no longer expressive of anything real.
America is becoming a bilingual society, divided between those who think a pickup is a rugged vehicle useful for transporting heavy-duty items from A to B, and those who think a pickup is coded racism.
Unfortunately, the latter group forms most of the Democratic-media one-party state currently running the country.