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One sentence and, boy, am I tired

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by trifectarich, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    Anyone see Sunday's New York Times magazine? It's the annual issue of stories dedicated to notable people who died throughout the year. At any rate, to open the piece on Bobby Fischer, the first sentence I counted to be 407 words. Someone in that building had to know that was a great way to confuse readers and/or make them turn the page. I would have pasted the atrocity here, but I don't think my computer has enough memory to copy something that big.
  2. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    i'll bet it was a quality 407 words, though.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    For your reading pleasure ... I dare you to make it all the way through this:

    Before he was secretly buried on a dark winter morning in a lonely Icelandic churchyard at the age of 64 (there were only four people in attendance at the hastily arranged funeral) . . . before his last ailing days of bad kidneys and rotting teeth (he had all of his fillings removed, convinced that U.S. and Russian agents would otherwise send radio signals to his brain) . . . before the long hours whiled away at a Reykjavik bookstore, a place that vaguely reminded him of one from his Brooklyn youth (in both, he read comic books and studied chess) . . . and before his decades of ghostly peregrinations through the world, like a profane monk or an idiot savant searching for perfect exile (from Pasadena to Hungary to the Philippines, where he supposedly had a child, and on to Japan, where he supposedly married and was arrested and imprisoned for a passport violation) . . . before his bizarre eruptions (he applauded the events of 9/11 as “wonderful news” and believed, among other defamations, that the Jews wanted to eradicate the African elephant because its trunk was a reminder of an uncircumcised penis) . . . and before the spectacle of meeting his one-time nemesis, the former world-champion chess player Boris Spassky, for an anticlimactic 1992 rematch in war-torn Yugoslavia despite U.N. sanctions against it (in front of whirring cameras, he spat on the U.S. order forbidding him to play) . . . even way back before their original 1972 meeting, called the Match of the Century, when the eyes of the world were riveted on him as a shining emblem of American will, innovation and brilliance (the match in which he took on the Soviet chess machine and single-handedly crushed it, but not before the fabled call from Henry Kissinger, urging him to put aside his jumbled demands and just play) . . . even before his brazen, almost obnoxious deconstruction of a cavalcade of grandmasters who stood in his path to Spassky (he won 20 games in a row, the longest winning streak in modern chess) . . . before he traded the rags of his youth for his new wardrobe of expensive suits . . . before his mind slowly unhinged and he became a walking paradox (the anti-Semitic Jew; the anti-American national hero, the wastrel-wizard of his craft) . . . yes, before the whole circus of his life unfolded, he was a 13-year-old kid in the first flush of the thing he most loved in the world: chess.
  4. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Liked it very much, actually.
  5. Paper Dragon

    Paper Dragon Member

    Me, too.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I think... the little dot thingys make it... you know.... sing
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Really? I am allergic to ellipses.
  8. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    I am generally not a fan of either ellipsis or really run-on sentences, but I do like how that brings it all back to "the thing he loved most in the world: chess."

    And there were several excellent details.

    I'm kind of digging it, though I don't know that I'd ever try it.
  9. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Sorry, didn't work. Clearly written for the peers, not the readers.
  10. finishthehat

    finishthehat Active Member

    I liked it alright, especially in the context of the issue -- which is a collection of mini-biographies of people who died in 2008, some famous, some not.

    It was, I thought, an interesting way to get a lot of scattered info to grab the reader who might've been thinking "Bobby Fischer, I've already read about him."
  11. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    And stringing together a bunch of snippets that contain parentheses galore with ellipses galore to create readability nil is the way it had to be done?
  12. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    "Had to be done" has nothing to do with it. It's the way the writer, Michael Paterniti, chose to delve into a short profile about someone who has been written about thousands of times by thousands of people. Writers are hired to make choices. This was Paterniti's.

    The minute we start editing the New York Times Sunday Magazine the way we edit USA Today is the minute I throw in the towell and spend the rest of my life tending bar.
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