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November 24, 2008

Brochure Lit

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Here we are in Las Vegas. Took a little 520-mile round-trip yesterday to Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks. The stash a park ranger handed to us upon entry to Zion included a glossy, fold-out, official brochure with some truly lousy (in my humble esteem) writing.


Immutable yet ever changing, the cliffs of Zion stand resolute, a glowing presence in late day, a wild calm. Melodies of waters sooth desert-parched ears, streams twinkle over stone, wren song cascades from red-rock cliffs, cottonwood leaves jitter on the breeze. But when lightning flashes waterfalls erupt from dry cliffs, and floods flash down waterless canyons exploding log jams, hurtling boulders, croaking wild joyousness, and dancing stone and water and time. Zion is alive with movement, a river of life always here and always changing.

Must have been a summer intern project for a Yale lit-major. All things considered, I'd prefer facts to froth.

Here's more, having to do with the Indians over-hunting mammoths, giant sloths, camels and then smaller animals before turning to agriculture:

As resources dwindled 2,600 years ago, people tuned lifeways to the specifics of place.


a wild calm !!??!

tuned lifeways to the specifics of place ??!!?

God help the English language.



posted by Donald at November 24, 2008


I'll raise you one of my commenters, Donald.
...and I quote:
"I would send you something, but my entrenched sense of misanthropy and fear/love of the world wide web prevents me from doing so.

...The fact is this: pretentious name-dropping and intellectual posturing are mandatory in my field. It’s a small price to pay for doing what you love.
I therefore must conceal my inherent frivolity and silliness in the cloak of pseudonym.
An another note, I admire your balls. And deplore my lack.

I bet the last time you met inherent frivolity concealed in a cloak of pseudonym was in a H.S. literary masquerade.

Posted by: Tatyana on November 24, 2008 12:47 PM

Y'know, when writing fiction I use prose like to indicate the POV is not quite in a sane state of mind.

Which would be an interesting if unwise direction for a park pamphlet to take...

Posted by: KC on November 24, 2008 5:01 PM

I think 'croaking wild joyousness' is the worst bit. I admit I almost like 'dancing stone and water and time', although it doesn't really make any sense.

And hey, look on the bright side -- at least it's not written in video game instruction text or human resources department handbook-ese like so much of of what you see these days!

Would you prefer 'Hydrological resources, upon replenishment via seasonal meteorological activities associated with electrical discharge, leverage their viable excesses in order to reorganize their established riverine trajectories'?

Posted by: mr tall on November 24, 2008 8:15 PM

You took in Bryce and Zion in one day? Slow down!

Posted by: ricpic on November 24, 2008 9:12 PM

Erg. Bits like that give me a sense of nervous relaxation. Of course I'm guilty of tuning mindways to the specifics of text.

Posted by: Sam_S on November 25, 2008 3:08 AM

Did he giggle as he wrote it, or was she serious?

Posted by: dearieme on November 25, 2008 6:31 PM

Sometimes when I see such writing, I wonder if the author is a native English speaker.

Posted by: James O. on November 25, 2008 11:52 PM

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