We have spent a lot of time taking WaPo’s Gene Weingarten to task. The resident “humorist” has a nasty habit of relying on hackneyed, blah jokes to limp his way through his columns. Little did we know that Gene was a professor of journalism! At least, that’s what he thinks. Gene uses his most recent column to launch a class on a subject near and dear to our hearts: “The News Laws of Writing.”
Class is in session!
The first law Gene lays on us is the Law of Conservation of Adjectives. He says, “Today, one only needs the adverb “really,” and the degree of emphasis is indicated by how many times it is used. “Really, really happy” would formerly have been “elated.” “Really, really, really, really happy” would formerly have been “orgasmic.” Considering that most of Gene’s columns are really, really, really, really boring, this actually makes perfect sense. Carry on, Professor Wine Farts!
The second law is the Law of the Ascendancy of Cliche. Gene takes us to school: “In the old days, writers avoided cliches like the plague (joke). Instead, writers would waste enormous amounts of time trying to say things in new and different ways. And why? To assault readers with complicated new thoughts and phrases that they must puzzle out. No more. Today, the cliche has been embraced like an old friend.” Considering this is coming from Gene, this might be the funniest thing he’s written in years. In the boring world of tired cliches, Weingarten stands alone as the king.
So, there are a few of Gene’s “New Laws.” We have some good news, America! Gene announced in his column that he’s hoping to share more of these gems in future columns! So, for all you writers who aspire to be as great as Gene, drop out of that expensive journalism school and just read him. Hell, you might even snag yourself a Pulitzer in the process.