Writing for dollars

Check out this Op-Ed Column by Gail Collins that appeared in the March 4th New York Times. In “Poison Pen”, Ms. Collins writes of recent politician faux pas of the literary variety.

There are a couple of points of interest here. First, is the idea that a politician’s weak writing skills might deter the American people from voting for him. Plagiarism, sure. I’m not too surprised to hear that at least one politician lost a race because he was caught with copied ink on his hands (metaphorically speaking).

But bad writing? Really?

Writing seems to me the most essential neglected skill in our schools today. (This along with basic math skills, such as being able to count changed owed. Yes, I mean you McDonald’s cashier.)

I base this conclusion on years of reading law student writing. Keep in mind that law students are supposed to be among the best student and they all have college degrees before getting to law school. Yet many of the students I’ve seen have managed to get through high school and college without being able to construct a decent sentence.

Or more important–write a logical argument.

If voters begin to see good writing skills as an essential requirement for elected officials–yay! Maybe that’s the first step to a society that recognizes we need to give kids more opportunities to write and think critically.

Or maybe this is just a case of journalists offended by something that is close to their hearts. As Ms. Collins put it:

One thing about crimes against writing is that journalists tend to take them more personally than crimes against marriage. But, generally, politicians are protected from their worst literary sins by the fact that nobody actually ever reads the books they produce.

I love that phrase “crimes against writing.” Maybe writers are the only ones who notice when non-writers are getting paid bushels of money to create bogus books. Or copy and paste another writer’s work as their own.

Hmm. Well, hand me a copy of A Shore Thing. I need something to read while I wait for Bristol Palin’s memoir to come out.


  1. lennyburnham says:

    I’m not so sure that many people actually have the sincere love for Snooki that I do. I hope I’m wrong, but I think there’s a streak of cruelty in most people’s Snooki-interest.

  2. lennyburnham says:

    While I suspect that A Shore Thing may have been a touch hastily written, I still want to marry that woman.

Add your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: