Palin book: Bad Joe McGinniss embraces adverbs

Second in a series.

There are two Joe McGinnisses lurking in the pages of “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.” One is a good author; the other is a bad author.

Yesterday we sampled some of the work of the good Joe, examining a hilarious passage in which he interviews a supporter of Palin.

Now for the underside. As a veteran author, McGinniss should know better than to use literary crutches to get himself from one thought to the next. Yet the guy relies too much on the adverb-comma sentence starter, an annoying device trafficked by writers with decades and decades less experience than McGinniss.

Notably, the Erik Wemple Blog has inveighed against the adverb-comma sentence starter before, when a Washington Monthly piece set a new density standard for the -ly-adverb-cum-comma construction (aka LACC). Fortunately, McGinniss doesn’t approach the frequency of that Monthly piece; if he had, the book would be unreadable. Yet the LACC crimes jump off the page.

Herewith a sampling of McGinniss’s LACC constructions along with some counsel for how to De-LACC them. The solution in most cases consists of a simple keystroke — Ctrl-X:

1) McGinniss LACC: “Normally, for a news story to continue beyond the first twenty-four-hour cycle, something newly newsworthy must occur.”

De-LACC: “For a news story to continue beyond the first twenty-four-hour cycle, something newly newsworthy must occur.”

2) McGinniss LACC: “Oddly, for all her public manifestations of religious zeal, there was little evidence of Christian faith inside Sarah’s home.”

De-LACC: “For all her public manifestations of religious zeal, there was little evidence of Christian faith inside Sarah’s home.”

3) McGinniss LACC: “Fortunately, the fearful comprise only a small minority of the people I want to talk to.”

De-LACC: “The fearful comprise only a small minority of the people I want to talk to.”

4) McGinniss LAC: “Publicly, Sarah came to Ruedrich’s public defense on November 3, saying the Petroleum Club event would raise money only for national, not state, candidates.”

De-LACC: “Sarah came to Ruedrich’s public defense on November 3, saying the Petroleum Club event would raise money only for national, not state, candidates.”

5) McGinniss LAC: “Extraordinarily, the judge went further, writing that . . .

De-LACC: “The judge took the unusual step of...”

6) McGinniss LAC: “Truly, the Palins are a circus of many rings.”

De-LACC: “The Palins are a circus of many rings.”

7) McGinniss LAC: “Finally, I find a friend of Sarah’s who will talk to me.”

De-LACC: “Following months of searching, I find a friend of Sarah’s who will talk to me.”

8) McGinniss LACC: “Undoubtedly, the relentlessly pissy weather this summer is a factor.”

De-LACC: “This summer’s pissy weather is a factor.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

opinions

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read

opinions

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters